Expectation: (n) – the act or state of looking forward to or anticipating a coming or occurrence of an event.

Joe’s worked for his company for eight years and he’s up for a promotion; he expects he’ll get it. He meets with his supervisor and hears, “Joe, you do good work, and we think you need more time before you get the promotion.” Expectation denied, feelings hurt, morale plummets.

Sally and Marshall have been going out for over a year; he’s ready to pop the question and expects she’ll say, “yes.” She doesn’t. Expectation denied, feelings hurt, relationship ends.

Romney expected to win the presidential election – by a landslide – and he didn’t. Expectation denied, feelings ravished, self-doubt rises.

Expectations rise with the dawn and stay awake and alive with all of us through every aspect of our lives. How many of you have been let down and had your expectations diminished or obliterated through no fault of your own – or not? Were you ready and thought you were qualified for the new job and didn’t get it?

I applied for a contract training position last month and was initially told, “You got it.” I was excited; it would have been a challenging and interesting three-month contract. Two weeks later I got an email saying that a few other qualifications had been added to the “perfect candidate” profile, and I needed to wait. I did. Then I received the oh-so-personal rejection-template letter. It wasn’t as profound as it might have been because of my friend’s – on the hiring committee – second email, but it was a huge disappointment.  Wow, talk about deflated, and my expectation denied.  I was looking forward to the contract – the work and the remuneration. Bye.

We’ve all had our expectations blown in the wind. You know others who have too.

In both our personal and professional lives expectations take our hand and walks us through the day. Sometimes we get a surprise, and it’s wonderful: “Kit, you’re our employee of the year!” Kit says, “This is so unexpected; I’m thrilled. Thank you.”  Those are great non-expectations.

How you deal with your expectation denied, hurt feelings, deflated egos, even jealousies that someone else got the job or the promotion says volumes to others, as well as yourself. When you carry your head high, learn from the set back and dig down deep into your emotional core for positive strength, your behavior is a neon light of professionalism and good character.

“I can’t meet your expectations,” said Will. Will and Tamara have been dating for nine months and she’s ready to commit to a long-term relationship. He’s not ready, and needs space…. “I need time.” What does she do?  What would you do?

“Bill, you haven’t met your goals this year, nor our expectations for a higher percentage of ___(Fill in the blank.) We have to let you go.”

Some of the examples may seem trivial, but they happen to all of us. Yes, some expectations are bigger, some smaller! My dear friend W Mitchell – a brilliant professional speaker – says, “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.” Yes!

Next time an expectation tumbles down the garbage disposal, what are you going to do about it?

I keep marching on, learning from the setbacks and knowing that good comes from many corners. I keep looking forward to and anticipating a positive outcome.  And you?

Here’s to us.



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One response to “Expectations

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