It’s all about expectations.
In both our personal and professional lives, we are often driven to action by expectations. Consider a few scenarios:
- You buy the iPhone and expect that you’ll rarely, if ever, drop a call (After all, AT&T claims to have “more bars in more places.”)
- You attend a conference with the expectation that you will walk away with 50 new leads.
- You start eating healthier with the expectation that you’ll lose 20 pounds.
- You expect that a co-worker is going to change even though every indication tells you that will never happen.
The one thing all four examples have in common is high, if not unrealistic, expectations. When those expectations are not met, the outcome is often one of frustration and disappointment. Instead of placing blame elsewhere, try re-framing the situation.
High Hope, Low Expectations
Kristina once told me to have high hopes and low expectations. As someone with historically very high expectations of myself and others around me, this was a tough concept to grasp. I certainly have not perfected it, but I’m working on it.
Take those same four examples above and apply “high hope, low expectations” to them. Here’s what you get:
- You buy the iPhone and hope to have really good cell coverage, but have low expectations going in. You quickly realize that, thanks to AT&T, you drop calls all of the time. Yes, you are disappointed, but you had a feeling that this may happen. On the flip side, when a call does *not* get dropped, you rejoice!
- You attend a conference hoping that you will walk away with 50 new leads, but knowing full well that 20 is more realistic. You come home with 25 leads and are pretty happy.
- You start eating healthier hoping that you’ll lose 20 pounds. You lose some weight, but more importantly your cardiovascular health and overall sense of well-being improves. You’re thrilled.
- You hope that a co-worker will change even though every indication tells you that will never happen. The co-worker doesn’t change. You are somewhat bummed, but then again, their actions were in line with your expectations.
I am not suggesting that you have no expectations nor that you lower your goals (I’d argue that goals and expectations are not the same thing). I’m just asking you to consider lowering your expectations and increasing your hope. With lower expectations, you are less likely to be disappointed. With high hopes, if things go “right” you will be pleased. See how it works?
High hopes, low expectations.