One single word can make a world of difference.

We’ve all heard common positivity phrases like, “you are what you think” and, “your beliefs create your reality”.

After a while, those catchy phrases become hollow. Profound words that lose their meaning because we hear them but don’t really take time to absorbthem.

The other day the word, expect, inserted itself into those phrases for me.

It was like the proverbial light bulb went off over my head.

I was feeling grumbly over not getting some help that I had asked for.

All the typical voices sang in my head.

“Why did I get let down again?”

“Why do people jump to help so-and-so and ignore my requests?”

“Damnit, if I want it done right, I just have to do it myself.”

Then it hit me, I expect to have to do things without help.

This sounds like semantics, but I confidently say that I believe I deserve help when I need it.

My thought tells me I’m capable of asking for and receiving help.

But at the root of things, I don’t expect that I’m going to get the help I need.

To me and my language interpretation, those words mean different things.

Nonetheless, the result is the same.

The result is I often feel let down from not getting help when I ask for it.

That turns into a cycle. A cycle that probably started when I was very little.

I don’t expect to get the help, so I don’t often ask for it.

Because I don’t often ask for help, when I do ask, it’s a big deal for me.

Because I deep down don’t expect to get the help, it often falls through, and cycle begins again.

limited my expectations and therefore, I get limited results.

Examine your own expectations.

Enough about my expectations, where have you limited your expectations?

Do you expect to not get a raise or a promotion?

Do you expect that relationships are going to be hard?

Do you expect you won’t be taken seriously?

Do you expect to get sick or have pain or gain weight?

Our expectations aren’t based in reality. They’re assumptions we made a long long time ago.

Your Life Is a Story, Make It a Good One
If you’re not happy with your story, make up a new

I can’t say this with enough emphasis: your expectations hold the key to your life.

If you don’t like your results, change your expectations.

You’ve seen high expectations work in your life, but you might not recognize it.

Admire where you have high expectations. These are the areas of your life where things flow, where they just work out easily.

Give yourself credit for these areas, and use the same confidence in expectation in the areas where you struggle.

Then go with the flow. If you hit a setback, reaffirm your new expectation.

If you fall back into an old limiting expectation, gently remind yourself that you don’t share that expectation any more.

The universe is going to give you the results you expect. Make your actionsline up with your new expectations, and your results will change.

You got this, I expect it!

“You begin by always expecting good things to happen.” — Tom Hopkins

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Originally published at The Ascent