Updated: Jan 21
We've all had to manage (or even reduce) our expectations in the recent weeks if not months. But what does it even mean to manage expectations?
Well... imagine you are going somewhere...lets say Harrods (a proper store). You know it's in London so you type London into your navigation system. Where do you think you'll get? To London! Yes!!! But most likely no where near Harrods.
Next, you'll put down the street: Bromton Road and unless you're lucky you will not magically appear in front of the shop unless you put in the number!
And this is exactly how we live our lives, with broad ideas yet we expect results when we don't even know exactly what it is we want!
What do I mean? Lets say you want to lose weight - just this statement alone is like putting London into the navigation. You can easily lose weight by cutting off your limbs for example (I'm not telling you to do this!) but I'm sure that's not what you had in mind. You'll most likely lose weight if you get very ill and again, I'm sure this is not what you had in mind. Let me guess - you want to lose weight and be healthy. You can achieve this by eating healthy, drinking (water) and exercising. To be even more specific you should make a plan of exactly what you want/don't want to eat/drink and how much you want to exercise. Now this sounds more like a proper navigation with lots of detail you can fall back on if you lose track.
What about our expectations of others? As you'd guess the principle is exactly the same.
If you're constantly frustrated because people just don't get what you want them to do then ask yourself a questions: " Am I giving enough information that is specific for them to actually understand what I expect?" Even though there you can get pretty close to be able to read people I have yet to find a mind reader who would know exactly what someone else has in mind.
So, to save yourself a headache, make sure you are very clear on the outcome - what is it that you want - as well as any necessary details. You might know because you have the vision in your head but others don't and won't. This is clear when I run live training sessions and get people to draw an imagine using very few details. Every single person ends up with a completely different image even though my instructions are the same for everyone. We then follow up with another exercise where people can ask questions - and these should be encouraged not frowned upon - to get a better idea of what is it I'm expecting them to draw.
The beauty is in the detail!