May
09
 

Lowering expectations for higher success

Lowering expectations for higher success
“Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.”
~Alice Walker

Years ago I read an article. They asked couples who were married for longer periods of time to share their secrets for success. “Lowered expectations” was the most common response.

I can’t say I always like the idea of lowering my expectations. I believe (and teach) that clarifying and sharing mutual expectations is a first step to effectively communicating and working (and living) with others. That being said, there’s something in what the long-time married couples shared, and what Alice Walker’s quote highlights.

When I hold onto my expectations, or at least hold them at the level where I think they should be, I often set myself up to be disappointed. And when I manage to lessen, lower, or even forget about my expectations, I allow myself to be pleasantly surprised by what those around me have to offer.

It’s important to clarify expectations when we’re managing and leading others. It’s useful to share expectations when we’re navigating relationships, both personal and professional. But when I’m faced with a tough situation – or person – if I can lower my expectations, if I can expect nothing, I no longer feel frustrated that things aren’t as I want them to be. Instead I often find myself delighted by how things work out.

What expectation can you lessen, or drop altogether? Expect nothing. Let yourself be surprised.

When have you lowered your expectations and been pleasantly surprised?
Please leave a comment to share.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in finding surprises all around you, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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