Has this ever happened to you? You’re about to embark on an exciting new adventure and someone tells you, “don’t expect much.” How should you respond to that?
If you pay attention, you’ll start to hear it.
You get a promotion and your mom tells you, don’t expect much, it’s just more responsibility.
You sign up for a photography class and your best friend says, don’t expect much, no one needs photographers now that everyone has iPhones.
You commit to a new volunteer opportunity and your colleague says, don’t expect much, those types of people don’t change.
This statement makes my blood boil. Why wouldn’t I expect much? What else is there?
The Problem with Don’t Expect Much
The problem is that no matter how hard we try to prevent it, these three little words plant seeds of doubt. We have no time to deal with this because we’re busy trying to pull out the seeds of doubt we’ve planted ourselves.
Our beliefs predict our outcome. Not only is this true of our personal expectations, but our expectation of others. You see this in families. A child is labeled as the hyper one, the smart one, the free spirit, the clumsy one, the … And all too often, that’s what they become.
Why not expect greatness? Why not expect that everyone has unlimited potential?
The first step to expecting greatness is to expect greatness from yourself. You must let go of anything that previously defined you. You must believe in your unlimited potential. It’s not about perfection, it’s about being great.
In the series, Stop Waiting for Retirement – Start Chasing Your Dreams, I touched on changes we made over the last five years. These changes began to take shape when we upgraded our expectations. But the first step was letting go of the things that defined us.
Growing up I was told, “You have the Lieser chest,” or “you have the Kollmann thighs.” The first step to becoming the athlete I am today was letting go of those definitions. The next step was believing that I could shape my body into anything I want it to be. I want to be strong and powerful into old age. I expect nothing less.
What if someone else is limiting your expectations?
With life’s challenges, I try to be the light and not the hammer. I try to lead by example and let my life preach more loudly than my lips. If you want people to expect greatness from you, try expecting greatness from others.
Remember that everyone responds according to their unique world view. If someone tells you that what you are doing won’t make a difference, remember that it has little to do with you. Their response is a reflection of their own fears and shortcomings.
Help them release those fears by challenging them. Ask them what made them stop believing in greatness. Don’t back down. Inspire them to believe that you will make a difference. Help them believe that they can too.
Change begins to happen when you become aware of these expectations. You have the power to change them. You have the power to expect greatness.
Tell us about a time positive expectations led to a positive outcome in your life.
Share in the comments below.