Thursday, March 15, 2018

Managing an Expectation

Close-up of a businessman's hands adjusting his tie

[Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman at Unsplash]

"Expectation" is an uplifting word. We say it and our spirit rises. We think of related concepts such as hope and an expectation seems to be a very positive thing.

As with most positives, however, it can also have a downside. In this case, that occurs when reality or perfectionism enters. If you have an unrealistic expectation for social encounters or business transactions, that is a way of producing nervousness and disappointment. 

I've known people who deliver speeches with the expectation of being another John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan. In doing so, they miss the magic that could have arrived if they'd sought a simplicity and genuineness that was their own. 

Others go to social events with the idea that if they are not the ultimate extrovert who glides through the room, remembering every name and dispensing memorable doses of wit, then they have failed. They would have been better advised to be a successful wallflower, have a pleasant encounter with one or two (or perhaps even three!) people, and leave smiling.

Should we seek improvement? Certainly, but it helps if we don't turn improvement efforts into an exercise in self-chastisement. When unreasonably crafted, an expectation can be a very dangerous thing.

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