Expectations. Set ’em.
When we are itsy bitsy (and adolescent) kids, our parents, teachers, coaches, etc. set expectations for us. The etymology of the word sets us up to fail with the word “expect” as the root of expectations. And damned if we don’t adopt most, if not all, of those expectations as we get older. After all, what is expected of us is impressive, attainable, and achievable. Right?
Note that for our purpose here, I see expectations as the same as ambitions, hopes, and goals. While that’s not the literal definition, this is how the word tends to be used.
It doesn’t matter that we develop, evolve, change our minds, and face what actually happens in life. Some, if not all, expectations were planted like seeds, fertilized, watered, and weeded every single day. So we can’t blame ourselves when we wake up one day and wonder why on Earth we haven’t done, said, or become what was set for us when we were eight, 15, 23, 35, and on and on.
What expectations did you hear? Which ones did you set for yourself?
Here are a couple of mine: I expected myself to be married and to have children before I turned 40. And I figured by that point I’d live in what, for me, is my dream house with the man with whom I’d be sharing my life. (If you’re wondering, that’s a house with a front yard, a back yard, and a veranda.)
And after I completed my “official” recovery, I was so far gone from everything I had planned and been on the path to accomplish. I dropped pretty much all of my lifelong expectations but two. Those were, and still are, at the root and the heart of me.
Do my best with every single thing I’m assigned to and/or choose to do.
Feel and express gratitude whenever it occurs. (This one can be tricky when you’re really demonstrative like me. People aren’t expecting you say anything other than “Hi…Thanks…See ya soon,” when all they do is call you, pick up the check, ask about something you were working on. I’ve since learned when it’s best to get all up in the grateful.)
You’ll know when it’s time to redefine.
Some time after I adjusted my expectations, I realized that I needed to figure just what “success” meant to me. Rather, I had to figure out how I could become successful, and what success would feel like.
Creating new definitions can be scary. All I have ever known is only what I have experienced. So I hunkered down and asked myself the real questions: what do you want and what do you need? I’m talking about every single time to feel like you’ve made it.
Where I landed was believing that the 3 C’s (my colleagues, collaborators, and clients) are key. And just as important are how they will speak to and treat me.
I only recently realized that I am worth nothing less than kindness, respect, and clarity. These, of course, show up in various ways. Like a good slice of pizza, you know it when you get it.
To do it, you must permit it.
So we’ve adjusted our expectations, refined our definitions, and there’s one more -tion here. That, my friends, is permission.
We need to give ourselves permission to create and find what we truly want and need to do. Why we need to do. How we need to do. /
I am poised to dedicate nearly all of my time to the most important things (and goals) in my life. While I will have to Macgyver a couple of things to facilitate this, all that’s keeping me from doing is…me.
Yep. Me. I haven’t allowed myself to do what I’ve been talking about and doing not entirely half assed and pretty much half. Like Tom Waits so wisely and beautifully said, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”
So if I am about doing nothing less than my best, to do that most of the time means I am never doing my best. And that’s not how I want to be.
Give yourself permission to do whatever you dream of. You can do it. The time has come to let yourself do it.