Things rarely go as you’d expect them to. Especially not when you tell others to get better about managing their expectations, handling their disappointments, and setting goals.
I closed my computer and walked downstairs on Tuesday preparing to upload my post. I had spent much longer than usual editing my video and was ready to rejoin the family for some quarantine vacation activities. I got ready and clicked the upload button…nothing happened. I tried fifteen different things for the next hour and a half and it wouldn’t work. Needless to say, things hadn’t gone as expected and this was a pretty minute thing to get so frustrated and disappointed over, but I was missing time with my family and was quite frankly annoyed as hell.
So, I huffed and puffed as Dad, Daddy, and Domi hurled suggestions at me:
“Have you tried restarting your computer?” Dad mentioned delicately.
“YOU DON’T THINK I’VE TRIED THAT?” My patience and kindness were completely worn.
I noticed the three of them slowly backing away into a corner, seemingly hiding from me—all with little silly smiles creeping across their faces.
“What?” I asked exasperated.
They looked around at each other and nominated my Daddy as tribute. He cautiously stepped forward, tiptoeing around my unnecessary rage.
“Um, Babycake, I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but didn’t you say you just filmed a video about handling expectations and disappointments?”
I stared at him for a moment. No, I did not want to hear this. No, I did not want to take my own advice. That didn’t sound as fun as hurling my computer at a wall.
I had two options:
1) I could be a sour puss all day about something that wasn’t a big deal and sulk and whine and annoy the crap out of my family and myself or,
2) I could get better about managing my disappointment when I wasn’t able to do things in the timeline I wanted and wasted a half-day of my vacation over something that ultimately isn’t all that important. And I could move forward with a goal and a plan.
Because it would be pretty hypocritical of me to choose the former, I opted for the latter. I sat down and instead of screaming at my computer, I took a break. We went for a walk. Then I came up with a game plan so that I could make it work
It’s not easy to manage expectations or disappointment. But I channeled my frustration and energy by writing this. I created something instead of sitting in my disappointment and that helped. I came up with a new plan to get my post uploaded.
I let go of what I thought everyone else’s expectations were of me and I reminded myself that the half-day I spent wasn’t wasted, it was in pursuit of bringing something to light that I found important and ultimately I reached the goal even if it didn’t match my expectations.
Things often won’t go the way we thought they would. That’s okay. This is a pretty benign example and still, it sent me into a tizzy—so you can only imagine what it’s like when something much higher stakes doesn’t go to plan for me.
Friends, I talk about these things not because I’ve mastered them, but because I am learning about them. I would rather discuss them with you now and find a way forward together than have figured them out all by myself and spread wisdom. I am not fully baked. I am figuring it out, but I find it more fun to do it here so we can figure it out together.
When things don’t go your way remember you can always:
1) Take a deep breath
2) Change your expectations, it’s never too late
3) Channel your disappointment into something creative, write, read, draw, paint, dance, sing, or get out into nature, or garden, or pet your dog, or I don’t care, do anything.
4) And next time as you notice yourself building up your expectations ask yourself if you can find a way to set a goal instead of an expectation—it’s more fun and more practical. Trust me.
Happy day friends, I love you and please don’t think I am handing down advice because I’ve got it knocked. I hand down what I find as I find it while I’m working on it. Let’s be a work in progress together. The discovery is the fun part anyway.