Do you ever do something expecting something to change? For example, you start walking more and expect your body to change. Or, you’ve been working at your job and you expect to be given a promotion. Expecting gets you nowhere. The problem with this is that you are expecting something. You’ve not set a goal, you’ve just assumed it’s going to happen – you EXPECTED it.
Expectation is a road to NOWHERE
I read a lot of business and personal development books. I tend to agree and take the advice they offer. One exception – anything they tell me to do with expectation is a no go for me. I just read a book that said, “In whatever you do, exceed it.” How do you exceed it? I do agree that you can do extra things here and there, but that’s just because of the person you are – not because anyone expects it from you. I’m OK with going above and beyond my client’s expectations – they are expecting a photo shoot, and I give them so much more than that!
What I do have a problem with is when people place expectations on THEMSELVES! There’s a big different.
The expectation you have is setting you up for failure and disappointment. You expect change, and when it doesn’t happen you get upset, stressed, depressed and you have single-handedly destroyed your own dreams. If you were making progress, it stops. Any momentum you had, it’s gone.
Back in my Corporate America days, we had annual performance evaluations and we were rated on a scale of 1 to 5. 5 being the best, with a label of Exceptional; 1 being Unsatisfactory. What’s 4? Exceeds Expectations. HUH – What does that even mean? How can I exceed expectations? I do my job – I’m either great at it or not. I would always ask, “How do I get to 5?” No one – not in my 14 years there – could anyone tell me how to get to 5. You know why? Because you can’t measure anything on expectations! Mic drop, walk away!
As a photographer, I never expect anything from my clients. I never expect them to be able to pose (that’s my job), I don’t expect them to see my vision (because their eye is different than mine), and I never expect anything from their photos. I am there to be whatever they need me to be, not the other way around. I expect nothing from them.
I was talking about this blog post with a friend, and I want to share the conversation we had.
My friend said, “I’ve been running 20+ miles per week but my body isn’t changing, the scale doesn’t move and my clothes aren’t fitting better.” (She’s training for a marathon)
I said, “The problem is that you are expecting things to change. And, you haven’t met that expectation so you feel like you failed and you get very defeated in the process. It sends you down a rabbit hole of negative thinking that you can’t get out of. That then impacts everything in your life.”
She said, “What should I expect then?” I said, “Nothing!”
The natural follow up question she had was, “Then why do I run?”
It was time for me to give her some hard truth. I said, “Because you like to run and it makes you feel good. Stop expecting anything to change, just do stuff because you love the way it makes you feel. If running doesn’t make you feel good, don’t do it.”
When you are expecting your body to change and you don’t see it happening, you turn to the mirror to figure out what’s going on. That mirror lies to you. You are looking for your worthiness in something that can’t provide it because you aren’t looking at it with love. You stand there questioning why you aren’t changing like you expected, think about what you’re doing is wrong, how you must work harder. You don’t see how amazing and worthy you are without this change you were expecting. What happens if you just stand in front of the mirror and say, “I love you just as you are now. Let’s have some fun!”
When you release those expectations you’ve placed on yourself, you begin to relax and enjoy what you’re doing. With that expectation, you are always trying to reach something that is not attainable. When you let go, things in your life will happen naturally because you aren’t stressed out about whether things are changing. And, the biggest benefit is that you begin to see things that you didn’t even know where there because you were so focused on something you couldn’t reach. You see more clearly what’s right in front of you wanting your love and attention.
Let’s talk about another area of expectation that I hear a lot from my clients. Body after baby!
Honestly answer me this — What did you expect your body to do after you had your child? I bet you thought your body would bounce back, maybe not immediately but certainly within a year. I say …… NO WAY. YOU BIRTHED A HUMAN! Let that sink in. Your body housed a baby, gave it the nutrition and home it needed for 9 months, then it shot out like a watermelon! Your body will never be the same after that. Your body can’t bounce back after such a major event. And, if you are comparing yourself to a celebrity or friend who you think did have the “perfect” post-baby body, you need to stop comparing. You have no idea what they’ve done, what their body is like (because guess what – everyone’s body is different), and what financial status they have to do things others can’t. RELAX. Your body is doing what it must to survive raising children! 🙂 Just love your body for the ability to have that child, enjoy the life with your precious baby, and thank your body for all it’s done for you.
Take those expectations and throw them out the door! Just do what you like to do with the focus being on having fun and enjoying life. Let the change happen naturally. You’ll be surprised as to what takes place when you do!