The Coaching Corner Blog

High-Expectations Lead to High Disappointments: Be Open To The Unexpected!

In psychology, an expectation is referred to as our beliefs about what we think will or will not happen in the future. It is related to our uncertainties about what will be. What is important to understand is that your expectations may not always be realistic. Meaning, having high-expectations may be considered out of the scope for reality.


When you are attached to a specific outcome or closed-minded to alternative outcomes or possibilities, and results fall short of your expectation, you are more likely to experience emotional disappointment. I am sure you might be saying, “there is nothing wrong with expecting the best.” Or, you may be saying to yourself "that’s negative thinking." Well, you are correct that there is nothing wrong with creating a positive outcome in your mind. But, factoring in the unexpected is not negative. You can expect the best, or worse, and have the results mapped out in your mind. Yet, reality may be different because you are not the only one contributing to the overall outcome. You may need to consider how other people, activities, or results may impact your goals and change the expectations you hold.



Additionally, unsatisfied expectations hurt badly when we try to hold people to high-expectations. For instance, I have had very high-expectations of my children. I wanted them to all attend college, travel, be positive and productive citizens. I wanted them to marry the loves of their lives, have amazing children and experience extraordinarily awesome moments. One would say these are reasonable expectations, right? But what happens when your child does not want to have children—at all, or one of your children don’t consider marriage as something for them? Or, if your child chooses not to go to college? What if your child suffers from addiction or share entirely different sets of values than you do for living life? That’s what happened to me. As reasonable as I believed my expectations to be, my expectations were not fully met. Its not that my children are not capable of being the vision I had of them. Each one of my children have their own vision for themselves. They each made, and will continue to make, their own choices, success, and mistakes for their own respective lives. Their overall outcome is not about me or what I want for them.

When you hold on to a vision or your ideal outcome, without flexibility for other possibilities, you set yourself up for disappointment. Being attached to what you want to happen closes the door to options of what could happen. At least, that is what I have learned. I know that uncertainty is scary and unpredictable. However, you can’t control outcomes based on expectations. This especially applies to people. Yes, its reasonable to expect your spouse will not commit adultery, abuse you, or cause the family to go bankrupt. Its reasonable to expect your employer will treat you fairly as any other employee. It is reasonable to expect love and compassion or that you will be rewarded for your hard efforts and sacrifices. Nevertheless, we must consider the unexpected. Moreover, there is are no guarantees for how the outcome will be, no matter what you expect. The only thing you can do is hope for the best outcome, but plan for the unexpected as much as possible. When you accept that uncertainty is a factor, and results will not always happen as planned, you will suffer much less from disappointment. So, be hopeful. Envision the best outcome possible. Think positive. But, be open, flexible, and accepting that the unexpected will occur, and life is filled with twists and turns that may yield a totally different result than what you expected.



Coach Dawn helps high-profile figures and solo-entrepreneurs create SMART-R™ goals and work-life-self harmony, while growing profitable businesses. She will partner with you so that you can identify how to find solutions and resources to overcome your obstacles. Through Reid Ready Coaching, she also trains aspiring coaches or works with talent management teams on developing core coaching competencies to help prepare them for a rewarding coaching career. To learn more, visit: www.reidreadycoaching.com.

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