Do you ever have those days when it feels like all the small, insignificant, annoying things happen in a row? You feel your attitude going sour and your patience dissolving. Expectations are shattered. Plans fall through.
“I think I’m hearing your next blog post,” Cody said to me as I drove home. Looks like he was right, because that simple statement made me pause from my inner, overly dramatic tirade and ask, “What can I learn from this?”
I left my office a few minutes earlier than normal Friday. It had been a long day. Several appointments cancelled. I made contact with 30 people, sold nothing, set 0 appointments. I don’t care if it’s sales or sports, those aren’t good averages.
Needless to say, I had been painting a picture of what the start of my weekend should look like. I would be to our favorite Mexican restaurant a few minutes early. I would go ahead and get a table, order a cheese dip, unwind before the rest of the group got there.
After making little progress on the packed interstate, I plugged in the address to see what the GPS had to say about my current situation. I was still 40 minutes away!
I left almost 40 minutes before then. What I thought was going to be me getting there early, became me getting there a little late, became me not making it at all. Expectations shattered. Plans falling through.
It sounds so silly even just a day after to write about how much I let that bother me. If frustration was a meter, mine was approaching the max. This was the cherry on top, the tipping point, the nail in the coffin of a day that needed to be buried.
Now that my cortisol levels have returned to a non-lethal point, and I’ve had a good night’s sleep, here’s what I’ve realized...
We will always be at risk of arriving at the pinnacle of our frustration if our emotions are controlled by the power of our expectations.
I have found that I am excellent at playing out in my head exactly how my day should look. I could see Felipe setting my drink down and asking how we’ve been. I could taste the first bite of chips and salsa. I had even thought through a couple things we might talk about at dinner. (I know, I know, I’m crazy). Do you follow, though?
Before you ask, “But aren’t we supposed to begin with the end in mind?” let me put your principled hearts at rest. Yes, of course. But that end you begin with needs to be held with a relatively loose grip, because you’ll break yourself when you realize life is unpredictable and doesn’t always pan out as planned.
What will be, will be. Yes, plan ahead, dream big, set goals, begin with the end in mind, but don’t let your well-intentioned vision of the future become dangerous expectations that crush your spirit when they don’t come to fruition.