There are 2 areas that I am going to look into with High Expectations; that of ourselves and that of others.
Let's start with ourselves and how our high expectations end up making us feel like we don't achieve, that we are never satisfied and always wanting more and worse of all that we just don't feel good enough.
This leads to feeling crap, with no motivation and doing even less than if we had just had more realistic expectations, set lower.
So where do these expectations come from...often looking at others and comparing ourselves to who we want to be...
Sometimes it is setting the bar so high because of that fear of success that we spoke about last time.
Other times it is just not realising we have set too high an expectation, as we genuinely think we can do it. We start out all fired up and then it soon becomes clear you can't do it or it wont be finished in time and it is not knowing how to lower those expectations to stay sane.
Do you know it is OK to lower your expectations, if you start something and realise you have set the bar too high? That is NOT failure, that is good sense. That is looking after yourself.
Do you know it is also OK to ask for help if you have said you can do something and then realise you are over your head? That is NOT letting people down but the exact opposite and making sure it gets done.
I once said I could get all my reports done and sent in by the end of week (5 days) not taking into account parents evening, 2 late sports fixtures and a date night to the theatre in London!! It was impossible but I slogged my guts out, staying up late and making myself exhausted when I could have just said they will be in next week. I could have phoned to say they will be late but I hated letting anyone down and if I had said I would do it, then that's what I do...I am reliable. But they didn't need to be in until the week after and I could have had the weekend to do them. No one was going to look at them until Monday anyway so why did I beast myself? I set far too high an expectation and then couldn't break it. I couldn't admit defeat and ask for an extension.
Moral of the story...set a realistic expectation. If I had said next week they would have been in on time and done to a good standard, not rushed. I would have achieved, I would have looked good, I wouldn't have been stressed and exhausted and my boss would be happy...win win!!
So I know it seems easy to say but before you agree to a deadline look ahead to your week...is it realistic? If not then no, you cannot get it in by then. You are being honest and upfront about what standard of work they would like. I always think it is better to give a longer time frame than necessary and it to be early than to be late.
I am a mum as well as a business owner and I have set my expectations the highest for being a parent.
I was going to cook diners from scratch, never let them watch TV in the mornings, create wonderful adventures, bake and never use bribery...hmm well that didn't quite go to plan and it was quite a shock!!
I remember my cousin, Cathy from Chilled Mama saying if you think you have got it just lower those expectations one more time!! Brilliant advice and I spent a lot of time just accepting that my baby surviving the day was a bonus!! I didn't need to clean the house, open the curtains upstairs, tidy up and bake a cake as well as look after my baby! I laugh now but I really did want to be able to do that. I compared myself to my mum and wanted to be able to do what she did in a much different world, where she didn't work and could just focuss on us and the house.
My world is different now, I can't compare, but I did need to repeat I am a good mum throughout the day when I thought I was letting myself down. The beauty of an affirmation.
As we know, but still can be guilty of...comparing yourself to others is not helpful. Set your expectations based on you, not someone else living a different life, with different circumstances and situation.
So to feel more confident within yourself set realistic expectations based on you and you alone.
Let us now move on to our high expectation of others...
So you set an expectation and they don't live up to it. You are disappointed and feel let down. If it was a partner, especially a new relationship, that can be the end of it...
Did you ever tell them your expectation or did you just presume they could read your mind?!
I was once really looking forward to a night out with my husband. In my mind we would go out for a meal, have some drinks, go to a bar, have some drinks, go dancing and have some more drinks...now in his mind he was going out for a meal, having 1 beer, coming home and chilling out to not feel rough in the morning...eek!!
Oh how disastrous a date night can be when you have your set expectations and don't COMMUNICATE them!!
As you can imagine it didn't end well. I was stroppy and drunk and he was completely confused. Why had I ruined what could have been a lovely meal out...
So the moral of this story is talk so no one is left feeling confused or frustrated.
If you keep putting high expectations on others that they can't live up to either because they actually can't do what you are wanting or because they don't know it won't end well.
That relationship will be so strained that it will break and when you look back you might wonder why...Well maybe it was your high expectations.
I hear this with friendships too and more often than not once they have spoken to their friend they realise it is actually OK. They weren't ignoring you and not visiting because they didn't want to, they just couldn't. Life is busy. You expected them to come over before now and because they didn't you wrote them off as a bad friend. That wasn't the case at all, but it could have cost you your friendship.
When I was at school we read To Kill a Mockingbird, still one of my most favourite books and the line from Atticus "you don't truly know a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes" is so true.
Stop thinking, start communicating and don't judge
Realistic expectations of ourselves and others ensure we are happier, more confident within ourselves and around others.
Your task moving forwards is to challenge yourself when you feel disappointed in yourself or others. Question why that might be. Journal around it by keeping asking why until you get to the bottom of it.
Could it be that you set your expectations just too high...