Manage your Expectations

27 05 2010

It is amazing that no matter how long you live on this earth; things are definitely going to disappoint you. People are going to let you down.  Things you hope for will not turn out exactly as you plan them.  Your vision will not always materialize in the exact way you have mapped it out.  When these things and others like them happen we can easily get discouraged and give up.  However if we make a choice to accept things as they are instead of having to have things our way, then that’s what I call the art of managing your expectations.   

So what exactly is this whole thing around managing your expectations?  Let me share with you a real life example.  The other day I saw Simon Cowell (from American Idol) on Oprah.  I learned during Simon’s interview that as a music executive at age  30, Simon lost it, house, fancy clothes, cars, etc… and had to move back home with his parents.    Yes, this curve ball changed the route of his career.  This same thing can and has happened to many of us.  It takes away what you thought was your dream and shifts your direction.  When we come to this place or anything place like it, we have 2 choices. We can either choose to be depressed or we can look for the next opportunity, like my mommy used to always say to me “when one door closes, another one opens.”  But how do you find that other door, or even an open window for that matter, if you are not open to the possibility that there indeed is something else out there for you?   It may not even open right away but the point is if you can manage your expectations and “be anxious for nothing” ya know being patient and look for the lessons life is teaching you, only in that quiet space of trust, patience and time do you find that next open door.

So many people would get stuck in this place that Simon found himself in, becoming so depressed that there is no way they would ever be ever to see the open door that was to come, but Simon did!!!  He learned the lessons that this bump in the road was to teach him and slowly rebuilt his career and look at him now!!!!  Simon’s story is definitely a great example of managing your expectations. It is accepting that we may not like the situation but 9 times out of 10, shoot 10 times out of 10, I have seen how it always works together for my good if I can just have the patience to allow this detour to take me on a path that I may not have been expecting.  But that will ultimately lead me to the absolute BEST destination. A destination that is better than I could ever have imagined!  

As I think of this whole thing of self designed direction, it makes me think of my GPS system in my car.  It is interesting that I have a GPS in my car but often when I am driving for some reason my husband will say, this direction this GPS is taking us in, does not look right.  I often find myself trying to explain to him that obviously the GPS knows more than we do after all we have never been to this place before!!! If we can just be patient with the process of the unknown we will indeed arrive at our destination.  However when we go off on our own path, what do we do?  We get lost and end up having to allow the GPS to recalculate where we are.  Ultimately we DO arrive at our destination but it definitely takes a lot longer to get there.  Why?  Because we had to do our own thing!!  We had to do it our way instead of accepting that the GPS has a better plan for us.  Well I consider God as my GPS.  Often times He navigates me on a whole different path than I had for myself.  Shoot if you had asked me 20 years ago if I would be writing a weekly blog, I would have laughed at you.  You see my plan was to be a TV Producer but God had a different plan for me.   I am so glad that I followed my GPS instead of fighting to do things MY way. This destination is FAR better than I could have ever imagined J  I LOVE what I do.  As a matter of fact, I can also say that God (my GPS) navigated me to my husband, another path I did not see!  My GPS even navigated me from the West Coast to my current East Coast home; I definitely did not see myself moving out of LA.  All of this because I managed my expectations, followed the direction right in front of me and took my eyes off of my OWN plans by accepting where I was on the way to where I was going. 

 So here are a few things I had to learn to accept in order to manage my expectations;

1)      I had to let go of things having to work out the way I plan them.  Yes we all have plans you know…married by 30, 2.5 kids by 35 etc…. however once I  learned to let that go I was happy, living moment by moment and then actually meet my husband well past being married at 30.  And HOONNEEYYYYY all the jerks I met that tried to marry me before him…whew….  Yes I have to admit to you that a few of the losers I dated did fit into MY plan but I PRAISE GOD I let that go!  Why? Because knowing my life with a man, career etc…that my GPS directed me to…..there is no way I would be as happy as I am now with any plan I had written for myself!  I can truly say this because I managed my expectations as I allowed my GPS to guide me.  I also learned that God always has a better plan than you have for yourself!

2)      I had to learn to accept people for who they are.  People will disappoint you.  They will often do things in ways you do not expect but if you learn the art of acceptance and get to know them for who they are, than you will understand why they may have done things different than you expected.

3)      I had to learn that if it is for you, it WILL be done.  This allowed me to not focus on a job after an interview or a boyfriend after a first date etc… No matter how many times I tripped over my words or my shoes in whatever place I am, it will not affect the outcome if I am meant to have that particular thing.

4)      I had to learn to be realistic.  If you set unrealistic expectations, of course you will be disappointed.  So if I say I am going to work out 7 days a week, I know that is not going to happen so why even set that goal for myself.  However I can definitely do 4.  Ya get my point?

5)      I had to learn to expect the unexpected.  Now I am in no way saying to live looking for negative but you can always be ready for a negative situation or consequence.  How?  By learning to let go of being attached to the outcome of anything.  My biggest battle here that I truly had to work on is that I am highly organized and my husband is not….I had to REALLY manage my expectations on this one so that I know what his gifts are and what mine are and manage myself accordingly…if ya know what I mean 🙂

The overarching point is that if you live your life managing your expectations, then life becomes an expectation worth managing.  Something to ponder for this week,  in what ways do you need to learn to manage your expectations?  

  “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate, a time for war, and a time for peace.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 “You must learn to live in the present and accept yourself for what you are now. 
What you lack in flexibility and agility you must make up with knowledge and constant practice.” –   Bruce Lee



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