Monday, July 13, 2009

Mediocre Expectations

We all start a journey towards a goal with great expectations, right? Sure, we're going to be beach-ready by Memorial Day! We're going to sail through the holidays without even a nibble on a candy cane! So-and-so's wedding? Pshaw! I don't even like wedding cake. (It's true. I'm not just making that up to illustrate my point. I honestly don't like it.)

Great expectations are, well, great! I'm all for aiming high. And as long as those expectations are coming from the right place, I say the higher the better. Last week I promised more about finding a support network despite having less-than-supportive family, friends, or other immediate environment. That's where expectations come in. Ah, the tangled web we weave - our expectations of ourselves, others' expectations of us, our expectations of what others' expectations will be, our expectations of what our response will be to those expectations... you see where I am going with this.

I've fallen victim many times to proudly throwing my arms up and calling, "ta-da!" to an adoring audience of zero. I've heard the deafening silence of no one giving a $*&% if I ran my fastest time ever or maxed out the squat rack. I've put on my big blue ribbon and paraded around like a peacock and attracted a crowd of none. I was hurt and disappointed, but I've also learned that I was looking for positive feedback in the wrong places.

Some people just aren't going to get it. They won't cheer for you because they don't get it. It took me a long time to figure out that they don't need to get it.

My husband is an electronics geek. He's always working on some project, sodering and welding and doing all kinds of mad-scientist stuff until his creation beeps, blinks, lights up, and plumes smoke just the way he imagined it would. He calls me over to revel in the wonder of what he has done. And I try really, really, really hard to appreciate the time and effort that went into it and manage a, "that's really neat, babe." I don't get it. I get that he gets it, but I don't get it. Luckily for him, there are a lot of people on YouTube who get it.

I guess I am taking the scenic route to say something very simple - ignore the people in your life who don't get it and move on. Trying to convince someone of your ability to reach a goal is a waste of time because their belief has nothing to do with your ability. Tackling a fitness obstacle to prove something to a naysayer is likely to result in disappointment when they could not care less about your smashing success. Instead, seek feedback and encouragement from people who do get it.

It's hard to realize that the people who are closest to you might not be your biggest cheerleaders, especially when you need a cheering squad the most. But after I let go of the expectation that they would be, its been easier to not only own the goal, but shape it and direct it without the confines of others' mediocre expectations.

Once you let go of needing someone else to be impressed or even believe that you can, it becomes a lot more fun to do it - for yourself and on your own terms. So, free yourself from mediocre expectations, and start working on something great.

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