Expectations can get you in trouble. The trouble? Hurt feelings, misguided intentions, and misunderstandings.
Twenty years ago when my father died I “expected” to get condolences from my “close” friends; I didn’t hear from a few and I was hurt. A friend advised me, “Never expect anything and you won’t be disappointed.” Well, it sounds and looks good, but I don’t think it’s possible. I want to be expectation-free in my feelings and thinking, really I do, and yet…!
Do you assume and expect that your friends and family will be there for you on your birthday, Valentines Day, down days, success days, the holidays, etc? Most likely. When they aren’t, are you disappointed? Probably. I am.
Yesterday, as I mentioned, was my 60th. Now 60 is like the other decades – except 21 is THE biggie for most of us – it’s a pretty momentous occasion – at least to me. How many 30, 40, 50, 60 etc. birthday parties have you been invited to? It’s not 36, or 42, or 63, no it’s the end and start of another decade: big! Well, I didn’t feel much like celebrating for myriad reasons, but I expected – wanted and needed – to hear from a few special friends and family members. I wanted them to allow me the pleasure of their knowing that it was a “big” occasion even if I didn’t want a big display.
Guess what? You got it. My expectations weren’t met. I was disappointed in a few friends and family members. I must get over this. It’s hard! I’ll grow up one day and realize the best way is the follow that twenty-year-old advice and keep my expectations l-o-w.
Expectations come at work too. Your boss, co-workers, teammates and you expect the best of your daily energy at the office. You expect your office mates to help you when needed, to be there when you’re not, to help guide you in the right direction, give you leads, buy you a beer or glass of vino when you lose the sale, hand out suggestions, and give advice. You do the same – for the most part. Does it always work out that way? No.
Did you expect that prospect to return your call and yet didn’t? Did you expect to have a client, friend, co-worker, or vendor return your e-mail and didn’t? How many expectations do we put on others only to find we’ve built up our own disappoint scale? Too many, I presume.
You ask someone for help – personal and professional – and s/he says, “No.” Then what? You manage to survive and figure out another or even better way to manage the situation. We depend on each other; it’s human nature. And yet, those disappointments seem to linger almost more than the support. Why? I don’t know.
I’ll survive the disappointment of not getting something from my friends that I expected on my “big day,” and I’ll even move on. I often think about their feelings when their “big day” comes around and I’m expected to exalt them with gifts, dinners, cards and calls; what happens if I’m not there for them? Is it time? Circumstances? Caring a little less than usual? Who knows!
We will always have expectations of ourselves and others. Sometimes when the unexpected happens – a note, card, call from someone whom you haven’t heard from in ages, nor expected to hear from – you feel elated. This happened to me this past week. Fellow speaker buddies sent me cards. I received cards and notes from people I never imagined knew it was my birthday, and I loved it! I thank them profusely for taking the time to send me a card, it made an impression and heart-warming feelings.
I expected to weigh145 by my birthday – not quite there. I’m not disappointed in that expectation. Why? I expected to be on a different personal and professional scale than I am today. Too bad, it’s not happening. There are few things we can do when these expectations seem to creep up: 1. let them go, 2. laugh about them, 3. make the best of them, or 4. not to have them let you down. It’s a choice. Change your thinking. I’m trying.
Life. Expectations. Feelings. Emotions. Thoughts. Unexpected “gifts.” Misunderstandings. These all amount to our daily journey and its path. I’m the same as yesterday and my friends are the same too. Maybe it’s because I didn’t let them know that I wanted something from them that they didn’t perform. If someone’s ignorant of my needs and wants, how can I “blame” them for not performing.
Here’s to getting everything you need and want and having the courage to ask for them. Expect the best and you’ll find it!