What do you expect?

What do you expect?

When asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” a peer stated a plan, but then followed it up with, “I really don’t know what to expect.” I inwardly cringed.

Expectations are tricky things.

  • High expectations can be a good thing, as they set the bar at a great height. However, many people buckle under the pressure of trying to reach that bar.
  • Low expectations are usually easily achieved, but they can leave people feeling inadequate, like they could have done more.
  • No expectations, if you can live that way, can be a very freeing space. Although, that leaves the door wide open and can lead to a rollercoaster of emotions.

People with no expectations are often blowing with the wind, in a reactive state to the situations that are happening around them. This can lead to marvelous highs (“I just hit the lottery, didn’t see that coming!”) or tremendous lows (“I just got fired, didn’t see that coming.”). Again, if you can live that way, well… it works for you.  Most people I know who live this way don’t excel at it and are swallowed up by emotions like “What the heck is happening?” and “Why can’t I seem to get control of my life?”

Robert Schuller wrote, “Remember: Most people fail, not because they lack talent, money, or opportunity; they fail because they never really planned to succeed. Plan your future because you have to live there!

If there are no expectations, it seems there cannot be any plan in place to know what to expect.

Personally, I prefer to have a plan. I just work better that way. I have a goal, and a plan on how to get there, and an expectation of what will happen once I reach my goal. I admit, in an unexpected situation, I tend to expect the worst (a skill I learned from my mother) because if the worst happens, I have a plan to face it, and if it doesn’t I am pleasantly surprised. Yet, one shouldn’t go through life always expecting the worst, that would be such a downer.  Perhaps the best idea is the “Girl Scout Motto… Be Prepared.”

What about you?

  • Do you have a goal?
  • Have you set a plan in place to reach that goal?
  • What do you expect will happen once you reach your goal?
  • How can you prepare to face an unexpected situation?

All good questions to ponder.