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Managing the Emotions of Expectations


“If you align expectations with reality, you will never be disappointed.” – Terrell Owens

Can you think of a time when your expectations for a relationship or job went unfulfilled?

The frustration and disappointment of not meeting an expectation can lead to a variety of emotional responses. And for some, it causes them to stop setting goals and expectations in for the future.

Proverbs 13:12 states:

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes it is a tree of life.”

Unfortunately, too many people are walking around with sick hearts, and unfulfilled dreams.

This is something we all can relate too. The question isn’t if we will experience this, the question is how we will handle it when we experience disappointment?

People have a mixed opinion on the New England Patriots Head Coach, Bill Belichek. But one thing is known about his coaching style. His team is always prepared!

Preparation is not just about what you want to happen on a play, or your strategy. He also prepares them for the unexpected, for the scenarios that may come up over the course of the game. His practices are known for being more situational practices, rather than just running a series of plays.

Why is this effective?

The more prepared you are for a variety of scenarios, the more effective you will be because you won’t be thrown off if everything doesn’t happen to go your way. In fact, you prepared for it not to go your way!

There are 4 emotions that are triggered when expectations go unfulfilled: anger, anxiety, sadness, and shame.

Today we will explore the roots of those emotions, to see if you are dealing with one of them as a result of not having an expectation met?

  • The emotion of anger is triggered when an expectation has been blocked. This can come as a result of something you thought would happen, and it didn’t because of something or someone. “I thought I was going to get that promotion.” “I thought my candidate would win.” “I can’t believe they did that to them.”
  • The emotion of anxiety is triggered when an expectation is uncertain. “I really want the job, but I’m not sure if they will offer it to me.”
  • The emotion of sadness is triggered when an expectation is lost. “I thought my career would be longer than it was.” “I thought our relationship would have lasted longer than it did.” “I thought the money was going to last.”
  • The emotion of shame is triggered when someone fails to accomplish the expectation. “I can’t believe this happened to me.” “What will people think when they find out what happened.”

The most important thing right now is to understand what you are feeling, and why you are feeling that way. By getting an understanding of what happening in your heart and mind, you can then address them and move forward.

VISIT to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work building leaders in the community and for speaking requests.

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