In my last blog, we looked at the first action in managing expectations, which was realizing what they are. This is done by asking the question: What do I (or what do we) expect? It is a necessary beginning, but it really only sets the stage for what comes next; analyzing if our expectations are realistic.
The question I am asked the most often is: “How do I know if my expectations are realistic?” The fact of the matter is that no one but you can make that analysis. In my book, What do you expect?, I have explained the three areas where most of our expectations come from. These are our past, including our experiences, family traditions, ethnic customs and so on. Second, they come from our desires, the way we want things to work out. And thirdly, they come from listening to what others say, especially those we trust or those who have an influence in our lives.
While one or more of these is usually at the root of what we expect, none of them can guarantee we will get what we expect. Why is that? Simply put, it is because there is no agreement given by anyone to us which gives us that guarantee. Now we realize that even if there is a guarantee, the expectation still may not come to pass. The friend who promises to meet us at noon may be late, the parcel may not be delivered that day, our car may not be repaired at the time promised. Stuff happens. But when we are analyzing how realistic our expectations are, we trust there is a far greater chance of it happening if there is an agreement behind the expectations.
Take a few minutes and analyze something you are expecting. Ask the question, “Why am I expecting this?” Is it because it has always happened that way, or because that’s what I hope will happen? Or because someone said it might happen? How realistic is your expectation?
© Brian F. Reynolds BFRspace 2014
“What do you expect? The question you need to ask!” is now available in paperback for $20 (Can) from Scarlet Cord Press.