A lot of things have been going on for the last couple of months – the ups and downs of life basically, just like a ‘Yoyo’.
One learning outcome from this is definitely about managing one’s expectations.
EXPECTATIONS…. what is this word all about? One of the definite definitions cited in the dictionary is – ‘a strong belief that something will happen or be the case’. I believe this word has been used or uttered repeatedly to many individuals, be it a parent, a working professional or students alike. Often, we use this word in tandem with the word MANAGE or MANAGING.
So what is it about us having to manage expectations? Why do we need to do that if we already know that expectation is about having that strong belief that something will happen? Most importantly, HOW do we do that, i.e. manage expectations? Seems like as the saying goes, “it’s easier said than done”…
Recently, I have a friend whose husband was diagnosed with cancer. Looking at her, you wouldn’t think that the world of this mother of 2 young girls was crumbling bit by bit upon the news of her spouse’s condition. I’ve known her for more than 15 years and we’ve been through life’s turmoil from our swinging single years right up to marriage and parenthood. As I reflect back today on what is it that made her so strong, going through this especially difficult time right now, the phrase ‘managing expectations’ came up.
Yes, I believe, she’s who she is today because she is able to manage her expectations in the most commendable way that anyone else in her position could. A few years ago, I had a series of coaching sessions with her, and recalled on the number of things that she wanted to work on as her goals. Fast-forward today, I’m happy to say that she has managed to tick off those things on her list that she wanted to do albeit a longer time frame for some. In my opinion, part of her success is attributed to her way of learning how to manage expectations. I cannot imagine myself being in her shoes at the moment but I admire her for being able to say things like “I’ve done my grieving”, “I’ll take one day at a time”, “I’ll cry when I need to”, “This is not a disease, it’s just an inconvenience at this part of our life now” and “This is all about having the positive mindset”.
Whether she’s aware or unconscious of it, whatever that she has shared or commented were basically her way of managing her expectations. And the key callout here is all about how you verbalise and internalise the words or phrases that you say. I suppose this is the key to the HOW part of managing expectations. It is all about building or creating that strong mindset. Once the mind is set, there’s no stopping on going forward with having that strong belief that something will happen…and in most cases, that something is always about something positive.
There are many tips out there teaching you on the techniques of how to manage expectations. Here is where I’m sharing the basics, which would be applicable if you are trying to manage your own personal expectations or work-related expectations.
1. Clear the space
I use this in my coaching sessions at the onset of each session with my clients. Basically this is about you clearing the things that are on your mind at the current moment in time.
Most importantly we need to be clear that managing expectations takes commitment and patience. In most instances, when we are able to manage them well, everything else will fall into place. However, there is this one last tip which I constantly train my mind / thoughts, and that is – to expect the unexpected! Knowing how to manage the unexpected expectations is equally as important for me as only then would I be able to cushion my fall IF any of my expectations fail.
Well, I have a few expectations up on my plate at the moment. Looks like for now there are also a few “inconveniences” coming the way too which made me missed my focus a couple of times. So here goes another “shot” again!
How DO YOU manage your expectations? Feel free to share more tips on your proven methods of successfully managing those expectations.