“You don’t have to let yourself be terrorized by other people’s expectations of you.”
~Sue Patton Thoele

I was speaking with one of my clients recently, and she shared with me challenges she was having with her boss. It seems that she was so convinced of how high a bar she had to hit for her boss, that she was afraid of doing anything, lest she fall short. “I don’t know what to do,” she said. “I know I have to move forward on this decision, but I don’t want to let my boss down.”

I pointed out to my client that her fear was obviously holding her back, and, based on what she had told me so far, her fear seemed to be misguided. She hadn’t mentioned any specifics of what her boss had told her in the past that would lead her to be so stuck – no stories of retribution or specific frustration on her boss’s part – just her own fear of what she thought was in her boss’s head.

Together my client and I worked through this issue, and she determined her first step was to clarify her boss’s expectations, and her second step was to make the best decision she could on the matter at hand and then move forward. Perhaps she would run her thoughts by her boss first, and perhaps she would simply take a risk by making a choice on her own. Either way, she had to prove, to herself at least, that she could take action at all.

When you find yourself stuck because you’re afraid of falling short of someone else’s expectations, ask yourself what expectations are realistic in a situation such as yours, then move to meet those.

Where might you be holding yourself back because of others’ expectations of you – real or imagined? How can you move forward?
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