By Barbara Seifert, Ph. D., CPC
In the stream of life, we all aspire to be something or someone. As you were growing up, you must have had a dream of what you wanted to do in your life when you ‘got older,’ perhaps it was to be a model, a doctor, a teacher or a business owner. Whatever the path you have taken, there comes a time when you need to ask the hard question:
“Have you been – or are you – living up the expectations that you set in your earlier life?”
An expectation, by definition, is the state of anticipation on a desired belief one has for the future; it could be for a goal or for the behaviors of another. Part of an expectation is the perceptions we hold about this desired belief and the value it holds in our life. We might expect that we would do well on a test if we studied for it; we might expect that someone will answer back, “Hello,” if we say it first; and we might expect that our dreams will come true because we believe. Others may hold expectations for us that lead us to work for them but can also leave us feeling frustrated and often empty.
When we work towards a goal that is not ours, it can be more difficult to buy into it without seeing how it fits in with our beliefs and ways of achieving.
When we also look at expectations and question if we are living up to them, it causes – almost forces – us to provide an answer. It is through asking this question and going deeply inward that you can uncover the answer but also learn what may be stopping you from reaching them.
A simple “yes or “no” is not sufficient; it is the deeper answer that will provide reasons to keep you going. If yes, then it is powerful to delve into what is helping you to work towards achieving your expectations that will keep you on this focused and desired path; if the answer is “no”, then you must explore reasons or blockages that are getting in your way and preventing you from achieving what you want.
Here are 5 steps to help you uncover if you are, or are not, meeting your own expectations:
1) Have paper ready to write so you can engage both sides of your brain and to capture your thoughts.
2) Ask the question: “Am I meeting my expectations?” and then sit in silence ; write any thoughts that come to mind.
3) Look over your list and see if the answers are more “yes” or “no”; then ask the questions to see what has been working and what you feel is standing in your way.
4) Focus on exploring more deeply the blockages and if there are any valid reasons for having them; then commit to working on resolving them.
5) Look at the skills or strengths you have used so you can “prove” to yourself that you actually have the ability to go after what you want; your strengths can help to overcome your challenge areas if you use them.
Living up to other’s expectations can motivate but will ultimately leave you feeling frustrated; it is only through meeting our own expectations that we can truly act out our deepest desires and use our full potential. These, then, will lead to personal fulfillment, happiness and, ultimately, success.
Dr. Barbara Seifert, CPC is the President of Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting in Orlando, Florida. She works with small business owners & solopreneurs who want to achieve measurable and life-long improvements in their performance so they can make more money, have greater satisfaction and achieve personal and professional success. She also coaches in organizations to enhance employee engagement and for leadership development. Dr. Seifert is an adjunct professor, a certified coach, a certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner and a Certified Law of Attraction coach. You can learn more by visiting www.cyscoaching.com and Your Career Success Blog at www.allaboutcareerssite.wordpress.com.