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Managing Expectations

Expectation: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future; a belief that someone will or should achieve something. (Oxford Dictionary)

What expectations do you have on yourself? Have you ever really thought about this?

I have been struggling lately with them, and I wonder if you do too.

When others ask me how things are going in my new company, I get embarrassed that I am not further along; that I am not overfull with clients yet, that I haven't finished all my training yet, that I am not certified yet, that I have not finished mapping out the processes of my business yet, that I have no idea how to get to the vision God has laid on my heart yet (which is super scary y'all!).

I struggle with the belief that I should have it all figured out by now; that I should have gotten my certification long ago, that I should be smart enough to market well enough to get enough clients, that I should make better use of my time to get all my business processes mapped out, that I should be able to figure it all out and get it all done.

I have legitimately been at this since August 1, 2019. Exactly 16 weeks today, and yet I feel as if I am not doing it right, not successful, not enough. It has been causing me to doubt myself, become my worst critic, envy other's success, and generally make me feel anxious, overwhelmed and uncertain. When I do make progress it feels empty... because there's still so much more to do.

Do you ever feel this way?

The cause of all this are my expectations. I have chosen to listen to the false beliefs that I should...

It's time to stop "shoulding" ourselves into a life that is empty, meaningless and void of joy and hope. Do you ever hear yourself say (or think):

  • I should be better at______________.

  • I should be able to handle this.

  • I should be more _______________.

  • I should be different.

  • I should be smarter.

None of these statements is designed to motivate, inspire, or encourage.

They are meant to tear us down.

The worst part is we allow the shoulds to dictate how we see ourselves, causing us to judge ourselves unworthy and creating a critical spirit within us.

We do not have to live like this. We can make a different choice, one that, at first, will feel like betrayal and a cop-out but in reality is one that will facilitate that freedom, peace, joy and excitement in our lives we long for.

Here's how to do it (and, yes, I use these strategies daily)

  1. Pay attention to what you are thinking. Our thought life is critical. What, exactly, are you telling yourself about your role as a parent, wife, woman, leader, etc?

  2. Remove the shoulds. Using should ushers in obligation. Any time you hear yourself saying (or thinking) "I should..." stop and examine that statement and ask yourself "Why should I...

  3. Replace "should" with "choose." Saying "I choose to..." ushers in power. Each time you hear yourself use "should," stop and replace it with "choose" and examine the resulting statement. "I should be better at marketing" can change to "I choose to learn more about marketing."

  4. Learn the real truth about yourself and repeat it all. the. time. Expectations often make their way into our lives because we do not know how amazing we already are. You are worth more than rubies, are more precious than gold, are the crown of creation, and are so valuable that Jesus chose to face death on a cross, and God chose to raise Him from the dead, so you could have the best. life.ever. That is the truth!

  5. Practice, practice, practice. We have been living with some of our expectations for a long time. They will not want to leave because they enjoy the power they have over you. Keep at it even when you get caught up in should-ing all over yourself again.

We are capable, independent, smart, and so much more than we could ever imagine. Managing our expectations allows us to become familiar with the amazing person we are instead of trying to become a lesser version.

May you choose today to seek the courage to let go of the limiting expectations you are living with in favor of the abundant life you already have access to.

If you struggle with managing your own expectations (or that of others), consider the value a coach could have on helping you navigate replacing false expectation with the truth. Scheduling a discovery call with me costs you only 30 minutes of your day, but could result in a life you love.

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