Today I’m thinking about expectations. We have expectations about ourselves, we have expectations about our family members, we have expectations about the place we work or the kind of work we do, and we have expectations about our world. The dictionary defines expectations as: to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of; to look for with reason or justification. Sometimes our expectations aren’t justified and we don’t have a whole lot of facts we can put behind them to support them, but if we really take the time to think about it, most expectations we can come up with a reason for expecting the result that we do.
The thing is though, not all of those reasons are good ones. We may expect someone to let us down because we have had it happen in the past, we may expect that things will typically become less expensive over time because the products to complete them are cheaper, and we may expect something to happen because it seems logical to us or because it’s the only conclusion we can come up with. However if you present the same exact situations and things to other people they may come up with completely different conclusions than you or I did because each of us has our own set of expectations.
The reason I bring up expectations today is because the expectations you do and don’t have could greatly affect, and even hurt, someone else. For example if you expect someone to fail or not do their best work, while you may be right you’re discouraging them from giving it their best effort if/when they know you don’t believe they can do great things. A prime example is when your kids hear that they’re “good for nothing” over and over. When they hear that, and know that’s what you believe about them and expect them to produce (nothing), and most will be beaten down until they do produce nothing. Of course, the reverse can be true too; if you have high expectations of someone you can help launch them to reaching bigger goals than they thought they could reach.
This week I encourage you to check your expectations. Do you expect the best of people? Are your expectations so set in stone that you can’t see beyond them to the other possibilities that are out there? Do you live up to the expectations other people have of you (and are they fair expectations)? Are you expecting the best possible result from this week?