What Are You Expecting?

Expectations are funny things.

We set an outcome, or series of outcomes, in our mind and then expect those around us to meet or exceed them.

ex·pec·ta·tion - a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future

The past couple of weeks, I've been dealing with a set of expectations that became a roadblock. What was interesting was, the roadblock was not with my client. It was with my own mindset.

You see, I set an expectation that other members of the client's team would fulfill their agreed-upon commitments. And they missed. Not by a little. By a lot.

The miss triggered a mindset shift that flowed like this ...

ASTONISHMENT - "But, I thought we ALL agreed ..."

Yes. There were planning meetings. In the planning meeting, we all agreed on outcomes. My astonishment arrived a couple of days into the process when the first hints of a miss became apparent. Agreeing to and completing outcomes remained two different things.

FRUSTRATION - "Why are you letting ME down ..."

One of my favorite ways to describe frustration is:

Frustration arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of an individual's will or goal and is likely to increase when an intention or goal is denied or blocked.

Note the keywords "perceived resistance." What we perceive is a purely personal experience. When we perceive the individuals who committed to the outcome block us from accomplishing "x" we gravitate into frustration with a "what the hell ..?"

ANGER - "Now I'm PISSED OFF because ..."

There's an old equation I use when I teach professionalism:

Abandonment + Insecurity = ANGER

It's not uncommon for the individual who missed our expectation to do a couple of things. The first is to not talk to us because they don't realize they mis