The 3 ways expectations set you up to fail and what you can do instead
Do you ever have a plan for how you want things to go and you follow the plan but it doesn’t feel good when you’re experiencing it?
Spring break is coming up and as I write this I’m reminded of a woman I met last week where she was sharing that she had taken her 5-year old to Disney. She said everything sucked for 3 days, at which point she dropped all expectations and ended up having a great time.
Expectations seem like a good idea but then when everything is actually coming together, it doesn’t feel as good as you were hoping.
What happened with this woman was that she was expecting too much of her 5-year old. While she was set on creating an amazing trip to Disney, Her daughter wasn’t capable of living up to her expectations about how the trip needed to go in order to create a beautiful and memorable experience.
When you can set intentions without having expectations, chances are high that the outcome will actually exceed your expectations.
1. Your expectations aren’t the same as others who are involved in the outcome
When recognizing that everyone else might have a different agenda for how things work best for them, and that you can’t control everything, but you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get to your desired outcome, there’s a lot more room for improvisation and flow.
When you’re thinking ahead, it always seems like a good idea to set an expectation. Expectations give us something to work towards and we know we’ll have success when we get to that point because there will be proof of success.
The way the mind works is it sets a goal. And then it starts visualizing how it wants that goal to look. And then you’ll start making a plan to make that goal happen. But what happens instead is we end up so fixated on what we thought the goal would look like, that we think success needs to “look” exactly like that, and any deviation from that image feels like a failure. Instead what we want to do is imagine what the outcome will feel like.
Proof of success is what we’re all after. You don’t want to work for nothing.
Feelings drive all of human behavior. It’s because of feelings that we take action, and action yields results, and you want your results to be successful. What’s missing from nearly everyone’s goal setting agenda is getting into the feeling of what it will be like to have achieved that goal.
Feelings are what make you motivated towards your goals. When you can get into the feeling of what your desired outcome is, the energy of that will bring the outcome closer to you. If you’re only thinking about what the desired outcome will look like, anything that you don’t “think” will bring you closer to that image, will create resistance in you. Because you’re using your brain (visualizing and thinking ahead) to create your outcome more than your heart (what it will feel like to get there), your brain will say, that’s not what this is supposed to look like and will keep you from achieving it.
The great thing is that you can work towards the outcome you want and actually feel the way you want before you get there.
What you want to do when setting “expectations” is imagine what it will feel like to get to that point. Notice where you feel it in your body, how would you describe the feeling and all the attributes of it. What color, shape, how does it feel, what temperature is the feeling? When else have you had that feeling before, and what was the outcome of that. This feeling is really what you’re after when you set expectations. If you can identify the feeling before you get to your desired outcome, you’ll far exceed any expectation you might have set.
2. Expectations set you up to fail when they are too rigid especially when they rely on the behavior or decisions of others in order for your plan to be classified as successful.
You know you’re setting yourself up for failure when you get super focused on specifics. I’ll go back to the Disney example. If you expect that your child will have fun all day every day and enjoy every minute and be able to walk all over the park and not whine when they’re hungry because they’re at DISNEY, for goodness sakes – this is a sure fire sign you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’re not likely considering their experience and capabilities. You’re only focused on making it memorable. And if you’re spending this kind of money on a trip, your family better enjoy it. Am I right?
3. When we set expectations, we think we’ll have control.
The problem with control is there’s no room for error. Control is really just an illusion. The only thing you really have control over is your own experience.
Taking into account the needs and feelings and capabilities of others is a major part of your success. They have their expectations too. Their priorities will be different. Make sure you’re making them a part of your planning so everyone’s needs can be met. When everyone’s needs can be met in the way that works best for them, everyone gets what they want and now nobody is resisting anything because everyone is satisfied with how things are going. And this is when the magic happens. There becomes more freedom to create that feeling that you’re after.
Instead of setting expectations, you can instead set intentions.
For example, I’d love to serve 48 clients this year in a 1:1 capacity. Serving those clients and imagining what it will feel like to serve those clients, how it will feel when they send me text messages about improving their lives, money stories or relationships, what can happen in my home life as a result of serving those clients is all MUCH more motivating to me than the money I might see roll into my bank account. Money is fun but it’s way more fun thinking about how I got the money and what it can bring me than the actual money itself. So instead I set the intention to work with 48 clients.
Intentions still give you a goal to work towards but also give flexibility to make adjustments and plan
In the case of my client goals this year, I can choose to change that at any time. There are many ways for me to serve clients, and it doesn’t have to be in a 1:1 setting. I don’t have to choose any one way to create clients. There’s a ton of flexibility in how I choose to get to my outcome, which is to hear success stories from 48 different clients.
Setting intentions create the possibility for more outcomes that are bigger and better than the expectations you initially set.
In my experience, the minute we let go of expectations and allow all possibilities to come in to flow, we have the opportunity to create more in alignment with teh feeling of what we want than sticking to a rigid structure. It feels better.
Recognize what you think you’lre going to get by having that expectation. What feeling do you want.
When you’re looking around in your life, and reviewing your expectations, ask yourself why you need that specific outcome. What feeling will it give you. Why is this feeling important. And what other ways can you use to work towards that expectation.
The feeling is what you’re really after.
The feeling is what is most important in any kind of goal creation. When this is missing from setting goals, you’ll hear people way that when they got there, they didn’t feel any different and something still feels like it’s missing.
Usually this is because they’re thinking this goal is what’s going to make them happy. When the truth is, they can’t create happiness from something outside of themselves. They need to find a way to be happy without having acheived those goals. And when they do that, they’ll already be living from that place of the goal being met even when it hasn’t been yet. And THIS far exceeds any expectation we might have.
You can create the feeling by recognizing there are additional ways to create the outcome you want.
Happiness comes from feeling into what you want to create and creating from that place. Expectations do nothing except make it harder for you to create what you want because there’s no room for “error” in your planning. That kind of rigidity tends to stress people out and no one needs more stress.
Are you ready to learn how you can learn to let go of expectations so you can meet your goals? Book a 15-minute call now!