Here is the thing about expectations …
They are an incredibly powerful dimension in our lives.
They are fully connected to our emotions. So for every expectation we have, there is a box full of dynamite that this expectation is plugged into. No one can doubt the positive and powerful side of emotions when they fire us up, or doubt the destructive side when they rip your soul apart.
I cannot think of a more powerful pairing in our lives than our emotions and our expectations. They are umbilically linked like conjoined twins. The one simply does not exist without the other. They are totally interconnected, intertwined and each one is the cheerleader for the other. An expectation has emotions linked to it, and emotions have expectations linked to them. Two very powerful dimensions in your life acting like a tag team.
But there is a love triangle because of a third dimension. What we perceive, is what we believe to be true, or reality. Because we believe our perspective of reality to be true, we will defend it like Trojans. And there is the link to emotions. Everything worth defending or believing is filled with emotion. And remember, every emotion has an attached expectation. So now we have a power triangle of expectations, emotions and perceptions/ perspectives.
But wait, there is more. How about our actions or reactions being added to the mix. If you firmly believe in your viewpoint of reality. If you are emotionally charged about it, and have an expectation that everyone else will agree with you, then your behaviour is going to align to this. The result is that you are going to act or react accordingly. Now we have four explosively powerful dimensions interwoven together. Expectations, emotions, perceptions and actions.
A 5th dimension
Is there a fifth dimension? Absolutely. When we assign a deep-seated meaning to something (a belief, hope, fear, anxiety) it resonates directly with our expectations. Have you ever witnessed someone who is so purpose drive that they are unshakeable. The purpose dimension is also interwoven in what we expect to occur. It is directly linked to your perception of something. As you know, emotions are inter-connected with perceptions and expectations. It is this pairing that creates a direct link back to purpose.
When you have a deep-seated purpose driving you, with a set perception of reality, aligned emotions and expectations, then your behaviour has no choice but to play out accordingly.
It does not matter which of these five dimensions came first in the mix of things. It always comes back to you expecting something that you want to happen, or that you don’t want to happen.
This is where the power within expectations is found. This continuum of dimensions are at the centre of what motivates us every moment of each day. When expectations are positive and strong, we can move mountains. When they are negative or weak, we freeze or give up.
This is also the zone where you will build up your energy, or lose it.
If it was an image, what would this cluster of power dimensions look like?
So – as an entrepreneur, why am I telling you about expectations?
Because the journey can be a lonely one. It can be a path that is often littered with obstacles that drain away your resolve. It will challenge your #1 reason for being out there and doing what you started out for – your expectations.
Your business venture is built on the back of expectations. It is the expectation you have for what you want to achieve for yourself. It is the expectations that others have of the business. This can be partners, investors, staff, suppliers or customers. It is definitely your family, your spouse, your children who have heavily invested expectations in the success of the business. Everyone involved with your business venture has expectations that are directly attached to it. Talk about super pressure on you.
Now – because expectations are powerful due to their connectedness with the other power dimensions in our lives, and because we are rather sensitive to the state of each of these dimensions if they go out of balance with each other, we are vulnerable to any one (or more) of them messing up the total balance of things.
An upset expectation continuum balance has a ripple effect. It starts to mess with all the other dimensions that we really do not want out of balance. If this happens, it drags them all into the mix. Before long, you find yourself saddled with a scenario that becomes a self-perpetuating, self-feeding monster and eventually nothing seems worth it to you anymore.
Bottom line is that you will experience these moments that are out of balance, but you must not give it legs. You have to take control of it. You have to shift at least one of the dimensions in play. So which one do you shift? This is where I start 90% plus of the time – Emotions.
It can be something as simple as stopping whatever you are doing. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths without thinking about the issue at hand. The mere act of intentionally shifting your physiological state, forces a change in the mental state. The mind has no choice but to comply.
Next, check the validity of your perception. Is it really what it seems to be? Are there mitigating circumstances that you have not considered? Was your initial assessment valid or were you overly optimistic or sucking a thumb the size of a bus?
As an entrepreneur, and having interviewed many others, there is a common pattern across the board. We all have an inflated opinion of our super human capabilities, and a reduced perspective of realistic timeframes. Our expectations are built on the backbone of these two patterns. No wonder we experience the emotional turmoil associated with them when they fail to deliver as we expected.
Here is my parting shot. Keep it real. Check reality often. Adjust when you find expectations and reality colliding. Above all, keep your head in the game by managing your expectations (and the continuum).