Expect: to consider probable or certain
Expectations are natural. Our experiences and attitudes lead us to a sense of what will occur in situations, before we actually encounter them. They can have an undue influence on how we engage in a situation, however. Have you had an experience where your expectations of a situation were proven wrong or got you into trouble?
The first step in dealing effectively with expectations is to be aware of them. How about taking a challenge to spend a day with no expectations? Of course, you may have some, but you consciously put them aside and enter situations in a neutral state of mind. This way, you are fully in the present moment and can act according to whatever the situation presents. It could be a powerful way to build awareness of your expectations. Are you game?
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As a teen, this was a phrase I used often thinking I was so nonchalant. Actually, today, it may have some relevance to your career and work life. All workplaces have expectations of the organization as a whole and of individual people within the organization. Some of these expectations relate to what you are supposed to be excited about – possibly a new mission, behaviors within the organization or your contribution to the organization.
Perhaps, in adult life, this is not a nonchalant question. What are you excited about in your work life? What do others expect you to be excited about? What are you not excited about that may be an indication that changes are needed?
Many organizations establish missions, core values and principles by which they operate. Good ones reinforce them frequently to make sure they become an integral part of their operations. Sometimes however, there are unstated values in an organization that may not be as obvious as stated ones. It is helpful to be aware if there are any unstated values in your organization, as expectations may exist that you follow them.
What can bring about unstated values in an organization? Here are a few reasons: leaders do not want to acknowledge the value exists, only top leaders know of and follow the value (exclusivity), leaders are not proud of the value or simply neglect. Here’s an example: an organization’s stated highest value is customer service; however, in reality, their highest value is profit which wins out over customer service when they come into conflict.
Know the values of your organization and others that you deal with. It can help you better understand the environment you are in, realistically assess your own performance and judge whether your own values are truly in alignment with your organization .
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Indecision is tough. Everyone, in varying degrees, experiences it. You need time to make a decision – that’s a given. However indecision, if allowed to go on too long, can paralyze you.
How can you get through indecision? Here are a few ideas:
• Give yourself a break. Your decisions are not set in stone. They are only set in the present moment, with the information you have available to you. Know that your past decisions do not own you. You can change a decision if things change in the future.
• Trust yourself that you are ready to make a decision. Your mind may play games telling you that you are not capable or ready, but you are.
• Do your best to let go of an expectation that you will make a perfect decision. Such a thing doesn’t exist. You can strive to make the best decision possible for you and that is pretty good.
• Do your best to identify your fears regarding a decision. What is the nature of your fear? Is it real or made-up? Figure out how can you confront any fears you encounter. Act in spite of the fear, knowing that you have thought the decision out as best you can.
You alone walk your journey. Only you can keep your feet moving on your path. Walk at the pace that works for you and keep yourself in motion.
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A recent New York Times article, Graduating And Looking For Your Passion? Just Be Patient. addresses the ever-present call to find your passion. The focus of the article is on new graduates, but there are bits of wisdom in it for all of us. The article suggests that finding your passion is not achieved with a flash of insight and a trumpet blast, but rather by fostering your interests and sense of purpose.
Throughout my time coaching, I have seen people paralyzed by the call to find their passion. They think they have missed it and have no idea how to find it. Take a few steps towards what you’d like to do and trust your intuition. As with many things in life, persistence and focus will get you there. Don’t let the expectations or admonitions of others trip you up. Make your own rules. Your passion is waiting for you.
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There’s a dichotomy with expectations – they can propel or they can stall your movement. Expectations address the future, however they can turn into beliefs that something will happen in a certain way. How can you have a belief about a future that hasn’t happened yet?
Expectations propel you when they take the form of intention, hope or desire. In that form, you are using them to set a vision of what you want to occur. They stall you when you make them omnipotent and your mind sees only one outcome for the future. In that form, you are closing your mind to other paths and options, that may be superior.
Stay aware of your expectations. Use them wisely, making them an ally rather than a hindrance.
Which way will you go with your expectations?
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A positive mindset is a big factor in success. Are you ready to hit the ground running in 2016? Take the remaining days of 2015 to create a positive mindset for 2016. Visualize, with no limits, what you want your new year to be. Create some practices that will assure that you keep your positive mindset throughout the year. Make a few new year resolutions and check in each month to assess how you are doing with them.
Keep your focus on happiness and accomplishment and you can’t lose. Wishing you a 2016 that exceeds all your expectations!
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Sometimes you can be in a situation that is too much, but still continue and try to handle it. When something is too heavy, it’s best to acknowledge it and figure out your best next steps. What do I mean by “too heavy”. We all reach for the best in our lives and that doesn’t change. It’s just that, at times, things we want to do or that others want us to do, are not working out and could end up harming us.
Examples of “too heavy” are: when a change you want to make has strong opposition and you do not have the power in the organization to counter it; when you are expecting way too much of yourself or stretching yourself too thin; when your expectations are unrealistic, considering the environment you want to reach them in or when you don’t have what you need to get something done.
Find ways to recognize when something is too heavy and you have to put it down for a while. You don’t have to give up, but you may have to re-strategize to get where you want to go. Having a lighter load will help you to do that.
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Sometimes, in the course of your day, you receive requests from others that have no basis in reality. Your first response may be incredulity, but then you realize they are serious. What do you do in the face of this?
Here are a few ideas:
• Ask them to repeat the request, just to ground it
• Ask them if they think the request can be done in the time they want or if there is a compelling reason why it must be done
• Ask them what help they can give you and tell them what you think is needed
• Tell them whether you think it can be done or not
• Tell them the extent to which you think you can be held accountable for getting it done, considering the circumstances
The purpose of these suggestions is to ask the question “Really?” in a thoughtful way and bring the conversation to a place of reality, rather than fantasy.
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It is useful, every now and then, to pause and take a look at your motivations and perspective. Whose expectations are you meeting? Yours? The expectations of your organization? The expectations of your parents or other past or present authority figures? Imagined ones?
It is not solely about the expectations others have of you. What’s important is to know whose expectations matter for your performance, consider them, and decide for yourself what you will give weight to.
The expectations that serve you best are the ones you choose. What expectations guide your managing?
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net