MSS #035: Expectations – examine these and free yourself from a big burden.

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MSS #035: Expectations - examine these and free yourself from a big burden.

9 September 23

MSS #035: Expectations – examine these and free yourself from a big burden.

9 September, 2023

Read time: 4.0 minutes

In a hurry? Cut straight to the Expectations audit. Chapter and skip the rest. - reduced read time 1.4 minutes.

Expectations are powerful.

We all have expectations of what we should be, at work, at home, as a family member, in our social circles.

Some of those expectations are heavily influenced by those around us.

Other expectations have just become a habit.

We also set expectations on other – either directly or unknowingly.

The best expectations are at a level that encourages to grow and learn, but at a comfortable place. Being slightly uncomfortable is part of learning.

When expectations become too much, contributing to feelings of overwhelm or poor self-worth, that’s when we know we need to change our expectations.

The great news is we can control our expectations, it just needs a little thought.

If this is an area of your life you sense you need to review, crack on and keep reading.

If you think you have this covered, you can file this to read another day. Ah, before you do that, maybe read the first part of this newsletter.

Take care and enjoy reading.

“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations” Michael J Fox.

This is a great way of summarising the impact of expectations on our lives and wellbeing.

Expectations audit

Most of our expectations are silent!

What does that mean, you might say.

We are not consciously aware of expectations they just happen quietly in the background. The source of our expectations might be.

· Parental – what our parents think or though we should achieve.

· Competitive – comparing ourselves to others like work colleagues, siblings, the neighbours.

· Social norms – that’s what you just do isn’t it. For example, expectations about income, status, education.

· Our community groups – the friends, social circles, sports clubs you might be part of. Talking to those people sets expectations.

· Self-worth – often we equate being or doing X, to our self-worth.

· Self-image – we all have an image and emotions about who we think we should be, this can be a big source of expectations.

· Work/ employment – whether you are self employed or in a business, expectations of who and what we should be come from customers, bosses, colleagues those we might manage.


What’s bugging you?

Find a quiet place, you will not be disturbed and you are safe and obviously not operating or monitoring any equipment or machinery.

Reflect on your life. Think about the areas of life you feel uncomfortable, maybe not fulfilled or that upsets you.

Simply consider any areas of your life that look, feel or sound uncomfortable.

To help you do this, consider some of these areas in your life,

· Work

· Income

· Family

· Children

· Partner (business or life)

· Goals

· Aspirations

· Social group

· Study or learning

· Parents

Now you have identified a few areas of discomfort. Consider what the expectations are.

For example your studying, perhaps there is an expected grade you want to reach.

In your job, perhaps there is an expected sales number, profit number, or something similar.

Examine where is the expectation set?

Imagine expectation as a sliding scale, that you can turn up and down. Reflect on where this expectation came from. Why is it set where it is?

You may have inherited an expectation.

You may have given yourself an expectation.

You may have assumed an expectation.

Either way, there will be an expectation.

You decide if this expectation is realistic, necessary even. Then imagine on a scale of 1 to 10, where is it now? With 10 being the highest setting.

Where should this expectation be set, so that it stretches you a bit.

Not too low that it is not interesting and inviting to engage with.

Not too high that it is causing stress and anxiety.

CHANGE the expectation.

You choose what it should be.



I grew up in a rough area. The expectations of what people from my school could achieve was low. I decided that I would set my expectations, now one else.

When my wife and I were in our early 30’s we both had “good” jobs. The expected norm was and still is both partners bring in an income, you get the biggest house you can afford and keep climbing the monetary and asset “tree”. We realised we were both working hard. By the time we did the housework together we had little time to enjoy life. So, we made a choice. We changed our expectations. Wendy quit her job and volunteered to do the housework, so at the weekends we could enjoy time together. We realised our “status” with possessions like a house and cars would change. But we decided to make that choice.

Our neighbours were surprised at first. But then strangely, more of them started to do the same and questioned why they were doing what they were doing – mainly because of social norms.

When we became parents, we decided we wanted one parent to always be around for our daughter. Again, we decided what our expectation was and not just to “conform” to social norms.

By the way it’s absolutely fine following social norms expectations. My point is simply this, make sure it’s a conscious choice not something that just happens.

Make choices is incredibly empowering and liberating.


Expectation review process.

Here's a simplified process to remind you how to practice setting your own expectations for greater comfort:


Step 1: Reflect on Your Current Expectations

Take a moment to reflect on a specific area of your life that has caused you pain or frustration. Ask yourself:

- What expectations have I set in this area?

- Are these expectations realistic, or have I set them too high or too low?


Step 2: Adjust Your Expectations

Imagine your expectations as a sliding scale. Visualise this scale and consider:

- Set your expectation just far enough up to challenge and encourage growth.

- Avoid setting it too high, which can lead to disappointment or demotivation.


Step 3: Review and Decide

Think about a particular objective or situation and experiment with different expectation settings:

- Imagine sliding the expectation setting higher or lower in your mind.

- Pay attention to how each new setting makes you feel emotionally.


Step 4: Take Control

Recognise that you have the power to choose your expectations. Embrace this control:

- Acknowledge that setting expectations is within your control, even when other events may not be.


Step 5: Implement and Monitor

Apply this process to various aspects of your life and continue to monitor your feelings and experiences:

- Regularly review and adjust your expectations based on your progress and emotions.

Remember, this process empowers you to create more comfortable and realistic expectations, fostering a sense of control and well-being in various areas of your life. Simple, yet effective.

Where will you set the slider control for your expectations on yourself?


Quick recap.

  • Expectations often just “happen” and are heavily influenced by external factors.

  • Just reflect on certain areas of your life. Where you feel uncomfortable, ask yourself what the expectations are.

  • Think of expectation as a sliding scale, the YOU decide where to set.

  • Set it high enough to be exciting and enable growth, but not too high as to cause more stress than benefit.

Process summary,

Step 1: Reflect on Your Current Expectations

Step 2: Adjust Your Expectations

Step 3: Review and Decide

Step 4: Take Control

Step 5: Implement and Monitor

See you next week. If you haven't already, follow me on LinkedIn and hit the bell for daily posts on tips, insights and techniques.

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1. Build self confidence and resilience fast - £48 training course

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If we both think we can work together and I have what you need we can go from there.

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Nuclear Powered Resilience – learn one golden habit that gives incredible inner strength, comfort and support, that keeps growing by instilling Unconditional Love in your mind.

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What they should have taught you at school – awareness of how we think and how to get better results.

Vitamin C for the mind – how to feel and have more control in life, with simple techniques built into a habit.

Happy habits – simple habits to make you feel happier everyday.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading, really hope this helped. Contact me if you think I can help you further at [email protected].

Happy thinking.