We regularly forget that people aren’t perfect. It’s natural for us to simply judge others when they don’t meet our standards or expectations. Now, you may have just read that and thought “I paid money to receive a high level of service. So yes, I should have an expectation!” I’d like to share another possible perspective to that thought.

For the record, I agree. If you’ve paid for something then the need you paid for should be met. There’s no denying that.

However, a need is very different from an expectation. An expectation is having someone meet the standard you’ve set.

If you are a chef and you go to a cafe, do you think it’s fair the cafe to be critiqued at a restaurant standard?

Think about that question for a moment. Who wins from that situation? The chef probably doesn’t win, as most of the time he will be disappointed when eating at a cafe, to the point he may never eat out. And then that isolates him from socialising and enjoying a cafe environment.

Does the cafe win? Most of the time, probably not. They feel terrible that they let a customer down. There will be times both will win but most of the time, I would be inclined to say no.

Are you now thinking “why has Dawn titled this blog ‘My friend, Dr Phil’?” Don’t worry, here it comes!

An example of an expectation for me was when I first met Dr Phil. I expected off-camera that Dr Phil would be the same as he is on camera. He wasn’t.

Off-camera, Dr Phil is a reserved and quiet man. He said very little off-camera. But as soon as the lights were on, he came to life. Had I not have had an expectation of him that first time, perhaps I could have enjoyed the moments of sitting observing and soaking up the presence of a man whose wealth of knowledge and experience has led him to be one of the most famous psychologists in the world.

Consider these questions:

  • Who do you have an expectation of?
  • Could it be challenging for them to meet it?
  • Do you have an impossible expectation of or for yourself?
  • Or do you expect nothing from yourself or others?

When we’re at work, it can be extremely difficult not to have expectations. This applies whether we’re an employee, an employer, working within a large corporation or self-employed. But how often do people stop and think about their expectations?

Unrealistic expectations of others and ourselves create emotional and, in some cases, physical pain. Have you sat back and thought about whether your expectations at work or at home are causing you pain? If you are interested in learning what is creating difficulties and challenges in your life, I’ve attached a self-assessment to help you. It can be hard to see your own blind spots and that is why we end up in suffering. This assessment will show you them.

If you’re not willing to make changes, then do not take this assessment.

If you are ready to take action, then complete this assessment. It could save you a lot of time, suffering and money in the long run. For those of you reading this and thinking “I have no expectations of anyone or anything”, please ask yourself these questions: Is this way of thinking serving you? If yes, great! However, if a slight inkling of you is saying no, then ask yourself, am I happy or miserable? If you are miserable, it’s most likely you have shut yourself off from the world to protect yourself. Help is available to assist you to get through this.

Take the Self Assessment here.