When Expectations Get You Down
Planning your career isn’t easy. Walking into an interview or networking meeting nervous about the outcome brings all sorts of negative emotions. Facing rejection or unexpected circumstances that take you two steps backward can also get you down.
What is there to be said about our expectations and why do we let them get us down so much? When we create expectations – either negative or positive, we often set ourselves up for disappointment. Expectations, simply defined, implies a strong belief that something is going to happen. By nature, we want security and we want to know that everything will be alright in our future – we want to believe that everything will be OK and if not, we expect that others will let us down or that we’ll never live the life we really want.
When our expectations are negative, there is a high possibility of narrowing our perspective, keeping us from seeing the world from an objective, present perspective. Narrowing our perspective can keep us from taking advantage of the opportunities and conquering the challenges that we face in the present moment. If our expectations are positive, we tend to build them up into fantasies and then turn them around on ourselves, criticizing our lack of performance or weaknesses if we don’t manage to achieve our expectations.
I know what you’re probably thinking by now, “Leslie, isn’t your job to help people to achieve their goals?” You betcha. The difference between working towards goals and setting expectations is that goals are a vision for the future – a way of being, feeling, and creating. Expecting specific results and performance typically narrows individual perspective in the sense that we “know what we’re looking for” but can’t seem to find it. The vast majority of my clients achieve their goals in ways they had never originally expected or imagined. If they expected to achieve their goals in one particular way, they’d never get there. Which is why they hired me in the first place – their old way of getting what they want wasn’t working for them.
When you see yourself getting disappointed, just remember this: abandon your expectations of how it will all turn out and focus your energies on just responding each circumstance with your goal in mind. Give yourself the freedom to see opportunities and respond in ways that are genuine to you and your values. It’s impossible to know for sure how the future will work out in our favor. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Simply said, there will be circumstances that you can expect to happen and others that you cannot. It’s super tough to let go of our expectations, but when we do we feel lighter and less constricted to live, act, and think.
Have you ever let expectations get you down? What was the result? How were you able to let go of your expectations?
Leslie, Inc. offers solutions for finding happiness through one-on-one coaching, mindful leadership retreats, and digital products. If you’re ready to GET HAPPY, check out Leslie’s guide packs. For more tips on achieving your state of happiness, sign up for Leslie, Inc’s weekly newsletter.