Action without Expectation
So it turns out, last week’s “Slow and Steady Keeps Me Sane” struck a chord with a number of readers. (If you missed it, grab it here.) Emails flooded in saying simply, “YES!” and “You read my mind” and “Thank you, I needed this so bad!” There are many pieces to why we avoid slowness and one of the most prevalent that I see daily in my coaching practice is our fear of unmet expectations. (Whether ours or those of others.) We think that if we slow and let go of expectations, it’ll prove what we’ve secretly thought for years. 1) We’re lazy jerks and 2) we’re never gonna get what we want.
I can promise that neither are true but it certainly feels true when expectations aren’t being met and our natural inclination is to DOUBLE DOWN on effort to make sh*t happen.
The other day I was chatting with a client about his frustrations at work. He’d been in his new role for over a year and still didn’t feel settled.
“There’s just no clear path for this position,” he explained. “I’m a team of one and don’t have anyone to talk to about my specific concerns. I’m also not getting direction from leadership on our vision and what I should be doing.”
We dug into his feelings of isolation and stagnation and laid out a few action items (contact this person, strategically voice this concern) to get him feeling more connected.
And even with a fresh plan I could tell something was still off.
“What’s happening right now?” I asked.
“Honestly,” he said, “I just didn’t think it would be like this. I moved across the country for this job and had all kinds of expectations that haven’t been met. I put a lot of pressure on my professional life to make me happy and it’s really hard not to feel both let down and like a complete failure.”
And herein lies the problem with expectations.
As we know, things don’t always work out as planned and when we’re locked into our expectations, we have little room to emotionally pivot or maneuver.
When we make our expectations the only option, if that option is lost, we’re left feeling rudderless and questioning where things went wrong.
When we expect to meet “the one” after 3 months of nightly dates and don’t, we’re devastated.
When we expect a networking meeting to provide us with the magic connection that will change our business forever and it doesn’t, we’re crushed.
When we expect a new job to make everything in our lives better and it can’t deliver, we’re pissed.
When we expect our bodies to heal in a month and 6 months later we’re still recovering, we feel betrayed.
So what’s to be done if we want to easefully pursue our goals and dreams without feeling lost if we don’t get exactly what we want?
Take committed action without expectation.
Let yourself pursue what you love without needing the outcome to look a certain way.
Give yourself permission to say yes to a new project, a new adventure, a new way of being (hello there, slowness) without expecting it to fix what you’ve deemed broken.
Fully commit to your own joy and pace and let things roll out exactly as they may.
So tell me, what committed action without expectation are you excited to take? Email me and let me know.
Lots of love,
P.S. If your actions are all wrapped up in expectations, let’s definitely talk. I have 1 clarity session left for the month of April and I’d love to help you lighten your expectations to clear the way for more easeful action. Simply email me and we’ll get you on the calendar.
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