Published Jan 09, 2023
It's the time of the year; many are making resolutions. Soon enough, many fail to reach fruition. Why? Because a goal without a plan is a sure way to fail before we begin.
As the New Year came near, people were at their peak; happy, compassionate, loving, joyful and reflective. Even in such a positive peak state without clarity, we can make decisions with little oomph; no powerful reasoning to commit. Our expectations for the new year often outweigh the effort we must create for the goals we set for ourselves.
For the first newsletter this year, I wanted to explore Expectations. It's vital as expectations shape our experiences; they can make you feel like something is easy, a piece of cake. Perhaps you were confident of a result, but it did not meet your requirements, or you know with complete certainty that with enough effort, eventually, the outcome is yours.
Here's an example, let's say you want to find a new job; you might say to yourself, "I can change jobs anytime I want; I've never had a problem doing so before", or "I will ask my connections to, help me find the opportunities".
Let's look at the opposite; you may be discouraged about applying because your professional friend recently got a job, but it took them eight months to complete. So you feel dishearted, or it takes you longer to commit to looking for a job, why bother?
How about other situations in life; Here's one that happened today. Standing in line at the coffee shop, I could see a new face working near the payment point. I appreciate the circumstance; I wait a little longer. I signal to the barista, "make mine when you are free". A customer, two people ahead of me, seemed frustrated that the line wasn't moving as they expected, huffing, puffing, and mumbling in the queue.
His expectations may have been that the queue should be moving quicker, there should be no hold-up, and why is there a trainee at the cash point. There could be many examples of why he was frustrated; what's accurate is that the world did not match his expectations.
When the world meets our expectations, we feel good. When the world exceeds our expectations, we feel great. When the world fails to meet our expectations, we feel bad. Perhaps like the example above, we act in such ways to feel better about ourselves, at times at the expense of someone else. What if all our life we were never meeting our expectations? Can we give ourselves a little grace? Can you imagine the quality of our lives?
Expectations happen throughout every moment in our lives, influencing us. So we must manage them and allow space for when it doesn't.
Let’s try something; stand up. Go on, don't just read this. STAND UP.
Go to an area with ample space. Keep your feet stationary, shoulder-width apart. Take your right arm, and hold it out from your body; keep the left arm down. Now extend the right arm around your torso towards the left and try to point to the furthest point where you are. Notice where you were able to point too. Now bring it back, arm down, and breathe.
Imagine, for a second, that you can turn your torso and arm farther to the left than you did just a moment ago. Just imagine what it would feel like if you could loosen up the torso and be able to go further left. Imagine doing so; to your surprise, you did it better than before.
Extend your right arm again. Do it, swing your arm around the torso and point to the farther point in your rotation. Don't bend the elbow; no cheating. Notice, did you go further? How much more? It doesn't have to be a lot more, just enough to show you that we do so with the expectation of going further.
My mum used always to tell me:
Karta pela, haari nai javanu
Meaning 'before you do something, don't fail at it.'
We've touched up with the idea of mental rehearsals before, and it is more relevant here in expectations. Allow yourself to mentally visualise any task you are trying to accomplish because the expectation you set allows you to perform better at it.
See yourself doing it, winning, accomplishing it, how easy it was to do, your ability to do anything.
L. V. Clark of Wayne State University conducted a study 1960s to determine the results of how effects of visualisation play on free-throw shots in basketball.
In 30 days, the results were in:
The effects of improving your ability to accomplish tasks can be based on the complexity of the task or how much is involved; however, what does it cost you to give yourself the best chance at it? Zero.
I attend a coffee shop in a newly built area, my second office. The only two businesses are Mc Donalds and Costa Coffee.
I sat drinking my coffee, and the store manager was out on the shop floor wiping down the windows of fingerprints, "I don't like fingerprints".
"I know what you mean. I used to be an area manager for Subway, but check out all the Mc Donalds waste outside; not sure why it's a chore for people to put it in the bin?" I said.
To my surprise, she said, "I don't know, I'm not picking it up; it's not my responsibility; I'll have to speak to McDonald's".
Sometimes we place the smallest of duties at a higher priority and fail to direct our efforts where it matters; in this instance, fingerprints over an unwelcoming storefront.
I believe she failed as a human because she had an expectation that led her. She expected that because it wasn't Costa's rubbish, she was not responsible for picking it up - she failed to be accountable to herself.
In her expectation, she failed to be a better human and a considerate manager, most significantly losing her opportunity for self-growth. Can you imagine the type of person this manager is outside the walls of work, let alone within it?
Sometimes life doesn't match our expectations, but that's okay. We need to be open to change, adjustment and adaptation. Our growth is a direct result of it.
Champions, what expectations are you placing on yourself to commit through this year?
Founder, Growth Coach, People Developer, Strategist,Unconventional Thinker, Aligner, Clarifier