First, a disclaimer (*this is still work in progress for me).
All right, with that out of the way, what this article is really about is the fine line between goals and expectation, how they are often connected or confused, and why that is detrimental to your well-being.
You may be asking, “How do I set goals without expectations?” I mean, honestly, don’t we set goals with the expectation of achieving them? And if not, what is the point of goal setting if you don’t intend to follow through?! Let me lead you with this thought… Having an expectation is a product of a limited belief system, having a goal is a tool a of growth mindset.
See the thing is, when you have an expectation you can “fail” to achieve it. A perfect example is a Deadline. You either make a deadline or you don’t, and often there are consequence for missing it. Deadlines are very beneficial in making action plans, and for accountability. Having a solid completion date for a project can bring clarity and focus, and is almost necessary for order in your life. The difference is in what you do when you get to the deadline and how you perceive that deadline. Whether or not you consider a deadline a goal or an expectation, the path to making that deadline is relatively the same. It requires work, drive, and dedication. The difference is the existence of FAILURE. In the goal and growth mindset, you work towards your deadline, if you don’t make it while doing your best, you set a new deadline. You reassess including the new pressures and challenges involved and adapt the situation but the GOAL doesn’t actually change. With the expectation and limited mindset, when you miss a deadline, you have FAILED to meet that deadline, and more importantly to your well-being, you have failed YOURSELF and possibly others. The reality of what needs to be done in either mindset remains the same. Whatever the task is that you have set for yourself it is still there and still needs to be completed. The difference is in the burden we place on ourselves. So, now I ask you…
What is the benefit of Expectation? In my last post I talked briefly about judgement. As best as I can tell, holding yourself or others to an expectation, only limits us in our growth potential and encourages negativity. There is no positive I can see from adding expectation, which I might add, is just a preconceived idea about how things “should” turn out.
A Goal on the other hand is a focusing point, like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It is something you work for. And when we set them well, they are something that ultimately enhances us and our experience in some way. Going back to deadlines, if we miss the deadline for our goal, the goal doesn’t go away does it? Nope! It sure doesn’t! You don’t stop. You just keep putting in the work. THERE IS NO FAILURE IN PURSUING A GOAL UNLESS YOU QUIT. So that deadline, if missed, isn’t a failure, it is just one obstacle along the way. And obstacles are always a growth opportunity.
So start today. Start eliminating your expectations. Eliminate them from your work, your relationships, your mindsets. I leave you with this quote to ponder…
“Don’t set High Expectations, set Lofty Goals”