Expectations in Life and Leadership!

Technology has placed the world at our fingertips. We can watch a movie on demand without going to the video store; we can download music and listen without going to the store to buy the cd; we can buy books without going to the bookstore; we can order clothes from our cell phone; we can even order groceries to be delivered to our door. Information and answers to our questions are available with the click of a mouse button or the touch of a screen.

The result is the placing of unrealistic expectations upon things that really matter. We no longer have patience to let the process work. We want the children to grow up NOW; we want the relationship to be better NOW; we want the project to be completed NOW; we want people to buy in NOW; we want God to act NOW.

What unrealistic expectations produce:

1. Shortcuts. When leaders, parents, managers and teachers operate from unrealistic expectations, people will find shortcuts to get it done in order to please.

2. Unfair judgments of others. Sometimes we judge people as being lazy, complacent, rebellious, or unable to prioritize because we don’t see results as quickly as we think we should.

3. Reduction in quality. Forcing an end-result without allowing the process to work will adversely affect the outcome of the product. Ask any culinary artist and he will tell you if you cook something too slow or too fast it will not be what you expected.

4. Short-circuiting relationships. Meaningful connection cannot happen if someone feels like she is always trying to meet your expectations. Expectations are not bad unless they are applied with focus on time rather than the end result.

5. Disappointment.  Unrealistic expectations always end in disappointment. Are you disappointed often? Perhaps you are looking for too much too fast.


1. Be informed. Know what it takes to produce the outcome you want.

2. Trust the doers. The people doing it have a front row seat to the process. Allow the process to work with you not in fear of you. Make room for the following: strategies to form, mistakes to be made, trust to develop, forgiveness to happen, children to mature, employees to learn.

3. Focus on quality not time. If time overrides quality, the big picture will be lost. Why are you doing it in the first place? What are you hoping to accomplish or produce?

4. Think like a creator not a consumer. Consumers want what they want when they want it. Creators work to produce something that is in their hearts and are willing to go through the process of accomplishing that vision.

Understand how our society and culture affects our thinking and expectations. KEEP REACHING forward with realistic expectations and watch the desire inside of you take flight!

Comments welcomed.


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