We all have expectations. We expect our car to start when we turn the key. We expect Amazon Prime to actually be 2 day shipping. We set needed expectations of performance for our team, co-workers, and direct reports. What’s tricky is when those expectations aren’t met. 

In the 4th grade, we went on the coveted family vacation to Disney World. While in line, I would feverishly talk about what we would do after this ride. At first, my parents went along chalking it up to unbridled enthusiasm for the grand park and all its attractions.

Eventually though, I became tiresome.

My distraction with our future fun was not meeting their current expectations. They wanted me to enjoy the now. 

Because my parents have no problem telling me how they feel, that’s exactly what they did. But, they did even better than that. 

Give to Get

Expectation is tough. If we’re not careful, it can unknowingly sabotage a conversation or experience. When we let go of expectation and instead give the person what we are hoping to get, it is mirrored back to us. Every. Time. 

Frustrated someone isn’t listening? Listen to them. Someone’s tone seem off? Speak gently. Go first. Give to get. Try it, watch what happens. It’s a great exercise to raise your emotional frequency, and skip right past disappointment.

This is especially crucial in leadership as you are constantly navigating relationships. By satisfying their needs first you ultimately satisfy yours. 

That could have been a rough trip for my folks, I’m sure it was in other ways. But, by being as animated as each Disney character that walked by, they got me present by being present themselves. By holding the space for me to join them, they avoided not only my constant chatter, but their own disappointment that I was missing out.

They gave first what they expected in return.

Watch below for a more in depth look at expectations and avoiding disappointments: