By: Kim Underhill - Founder & Head Trainer, Ultimate Balance Consultancy
Never expect something of someone other than yourself
The ability to manage expectation is key to reducing disappointment. Think about the last time you were disappointed. What caused that disappointment? How often do you expect someone to meet your goals, involve you in discussions, and think of you from time to time? Was it their fault if they did not perform up to your expectation? Most of the time, the people around us have no clue they have fallen below our expectations.
Throughout the years, as I raised my children and grew my team at work, I have come to realize that we can only hope for the best results. While we spend a lot of time nurturing the people around us, we cannot, and should not, expect something of someone else, other than ourselves.
Often, we have unconscious expectations of ourselves and the people around us. A classic example is the disappointment parents face when it comes to their children. This is because, instead of providing the best guidance and allowing children to lead their own lives, parents want them to live the dreams they did not have when they were children themselves. As parents increasingly expect them to do what they want, children are more likely to run away from them.
Humans and expectations behave like a simple rubber band – the more you stretch it, the more it wants to bounce back. If we lose consciousness, over-stretching will break the rubber band. This is the last thing parents want to see happening to their children.
Other classic examples are studying for an examination or preparing for a job interview. If you don’t know by now, regardless of the number of hours put into it, you will never be guaranteed good results or a successful hire. Simply because, we will never know what the examiner thinks, or the number of applicants the interviewer is considering. In these situations, we can only recognize that we have done our best, and hope for the best possible results.
Today, my two children are married and in college respectively. For over 20 years, I did my best to provide them with the best guidance, and made sure I supported their growth as a single mother. While I could have done better in some areas, I have never once felt disappointed in them. Instead, I continue to hope that they will grow into whatever they expect of themselves in the near future.
Looking back, I am thankful that my mother was wise enough to provide the best for my siblings and myself. Despite the difficulties in life, she never once told us that we were a disappointment. To lead better, happier lives, let’s view every positive result as a bonus, and be conscious of the expectations we impose on ourselves, as well as on the people around us.