Where’s My Pony?
I’ve had to deal with a host of disappointments lately, and—truth be told—it’s all my own fault.
“All of it?” you ask. Yep, pretty much. And it’s not really due to the actual events, situations, or people… but due to my expectations.
We all have expectations—ideas about what’s going to happen, how we’re going to feel, and the manner in which the events of our lives will unfold. We also have expectations of others—assumptions about how they will act, speak, and respond.
In addition, we have expectations about the world around us—how our environments (i.e., home, work) will help to support us in fulfilling whatever it is we decide to do.
Even though many of us have been taught that expectations are the seeds of disappointment, we still have them. Expectations create a natural sense of organization and balance, and the mind loves having this knowledge—it craves certainty, consistency, and reliability.
So then how do we deal with the world around us when it doesn’t cooperate? What happens when people don’t act the way we want them to? How do we cope with change, find our “happy place” and not let it ruin the party?
We know that our physical Universe is set-up to work with energy in a specific way. For every action there is a reaction. And even though our powerful thoughts and imagination can take us in many directions—into the past or future—only the present moment holds our true power, and in the present moment we choose our attitude and how to respond to the world around us.
Perhaps our disappointment doesn’t come from our expectations as much as it comes from our lack of patience—the inability to wait and see how things will play out. With time and practice we can learn to develop patience for the process, and an understanding to help us go with the flow.
This is called allowing—an acceptance of things as they are.
Sometimes that missed opportunity becomes a blessing in disguise. Ever looked back on a past disappointment and realized that it turned out exactly the way it needed to? Foresight can be 20/20, too.
Coach’s Challenge: This week as you are waiting for something to happen, pay attention to your expectations and ask yourself these questions:
1) What is this experience teaching me?
2) How can I learn to be more patient and trust the process, regardless of the outcome?
3) And here’s the kicker: How can I develop a higher tolerance for ambiguity and be comfortable not knowing when, how, or even if something will turn out as expected?
Then the next time you’re faced with a different result than you’d originally planned, practice the art of allowing. Just breathe and let it go… and eventually the disappointment will fade.
And it won’t need to disrupt your party—even without a pony.
Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is a career coach, best-selling author, and founder of The White Box Club™—live coaching and resources for people in career transition. Find his syndicated blogs on Thrive Global, Medium, and The Huffington Post. Learn more at connect.michaelcreative.com
Photo with Grandma at Paul Bunyan Amusement Park, Bemidji