Great Expectations

30 06 2010

“Oft Expectation fails,

and most oft where most it promises;

and oft it hits where hope is coldest;

and despair most sits,”

(All’s well that ends well Act II scene i, William Shakespeare)

 Our expectations can affect how we experience a situation and our interpretation of it’s outcome.

This sprang to mind last week when I had a Wimbledon match on in the background, with the “shock” score mid-match of the reigning 7 time champion being 2 sets down in the very first round. The game was by no means over but people’s expectations was that he would easily have sailed through this match but it created a “story” even though he went on to win that match.

In my past I’ve had jobs that had a lot of customer service aspects, and one of the first things I learnt was that if expectations are communicated clearly to start off with so that the customer could agree to that standard, then, providing they were met, the result is happy customers and an easier life all round.

The trick, of course, is figuring out what expectations to set – personally I favoured setting the expectations at something that could be easily met, getting the customers agreement and then strive to exceed them.

For example, in hospitality, if we knew we were that busy that the kitchen had a backlog of orders we would make sure that customers knew of the delay when ordering with an expectation of how long they may have to wait to get their food. With this information customers would be able to decide if they agreed to wait that amount of time and place an order. The vast proportion of the time we would “catch up” and deliver the food quicker than the expectation we had set which resulted in much happier customers. Those who decided that they couldn’t wait that long when ordering nearly always came back another day.

Our own expectations about what we do and how we “should” do them can have such a huge impact upon our experience. It’s often used as a way to put pressure on ourselves as a motivation tool so that we do our best work and get the best results.

You may have noticed the welcoming reaction that others greet uninvited advice about what they “should” do. Having expectations for other people (or yourself) automatically introduces the possibility of others pushing against that and being rebellious.

Then there are the expectations that aren’t shared which so often results in disappointment and annoyance. Maybe it’s a relationship where it seems so obvious to you that the other person isn’t doing what’s expected – but do they know that’s what you think they “should do”? Do they know that you expect someone who loves you to bring you flowers? Does a work colleague know that you expect an email updating you on a project you’re working on together?

Then there are the expectations that we set ourselves, the ones we haven’t even acknowledged until we don’t meet them when we notice disappointment, lack of motivation etc.

For example, Bob was having difficulty starting writing a book, although he wasn’t particularly aware of it, he seemed to think that to write a book you should write massive chunks in one go. He was struggling to find any motivation

So what can be a solution to the “problems” that expectations can bring? One thing that you may like to play with is by making agreements. Making an agreement with someone else means that they have “brought into” and accepted a particular cause of action, eliminating any rebellious pushing against. It also means that they are absolutely clear about what you both need to do.

It’s also something that can make a difference with yourself as well. Going back to the example of Bob and his struggle to find motivation with writing his book:

We chatted and just for fun made the agreement that all he had to do was write one page, every day (even if it was “rubbish” that he wouldn’t share with anyone else.) This was such a different experience then the one he had been working with that even though he didn’t think it would work he agreed to give it a go.

Some days he only wrote the one page on other days he’d find he was on a roll and would write more but he found that the motivation problem he had had vanished. The book also began to grow.

This week I invite you to make an agreement with yourself to take a regular piece of action to get closer to what you want.

Notice the difference that this makes as you go through the rest of your week.

Have a week full of agreement



PS Thursday see’s the start of Michael Neill‘s Creating The Impossible Program: Transform your world in 30 days.

I’ll be participating and have already decided what “impossible” project I’m taking on. What about you?

Here are the only prerequisites for your project:

1. You must believe you have a less than 50% chance for success in the 30 days of the program.

2. You must be so passionate about what it is you want to create that you will be glad of any time you spend invested in creating it, regardless of how things turn out!

Visit here to find out how you can come and take part too.


Speaking Ingeniously Training with Jonathan Altfeld

7 03 2009

Just added to the resource section:

I make it a principal of only recommending products and events that I have already tried and consider a quality product that gets results. If you are looking for a course to develop your public or group speaking then I highly recommend Speaking Ingeniously with the trainer Jonathan Altfeld.

I attended such a course a few years ago (under the previous title of holographic communication). There was a broad range of experience within the group attending. From individuals who literally shook at the idea of speaking in front of the group, to trainers and speakers who would professionally daily speak to groups. Using just the right mix for everyone in the group Jonathan quickly dealt with any nerves that any of the group used to have and provided a course that blended techniques and exercises with individual coaching.

Jonathan Altfeld is a highly skilled communicator and trainer whom it is an absolute pleasure to watch at work. He cultivates a learning environment which nurtures and develops the skills of every ability within the group. The journey which Jonathan easily guided us through creates epic transformations, no matter what experience the individual started day 1 with.

Using a combination exercises and group work, lessons and skills easily emerge which can be utilised not only in public speaking but in the far wider concept of everyday life.

The amount of time Jonathan spent with the group went far and beyond the call of duty, it wasn’t at all unusual for Jonathan to join the group for meals or in the bar and carry on covering subjects more informally.

Plus as a special bonus to Your Changing Direction readers Jonathan is offering a free copy of  his Truth Detection mp3′s with your booking. To make sure you get your copy make sure that you quote my name (Jen Waller) and ask about the bonus – If you let me know as well I’ll double check that you get your bonus :)

Click HERE for full details about the course including video clips showing the change in previous participants.


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