Getting Clear on Our Expectations

May I just say, I love the Olympics. After they were delayed in 2020, I was prepared this year to spend every possible evening with at least some time on the sofa to watch whatever events happened to be on at the time. I’m not picky, I like sports. We got to see much of the gymnastics and swimming and I’m sure everyone felt more than informed of Simone Biles and her decision to drop out of competition. In short, here is my take on it….Personal well being first. Always. Unless you’re a member of the secret service, emergency services or the military, you get to put your well being before anything else. If you are not ok, nothing else matters because eventually things are going to explode anyway. Stop. Regroup. Start again from a better place.

What I want to focus on right now is not Simone Biles the greatest gymnast that ever lived or her decision to leave the competition, but rather something said by her teammates after she left the team competition, and I quote, “We don’t owe you a gold medal”.  The commentary went on from there to include comments about the rest of us not being out there on the mat, or training, etc. but I was totally taken, to the point I wanted to stand and applaud (instead I sat and applauded) these young, first time Olympiads standing their ground. What occured to me in that moment, was how so often we have expectations of others, which we can not, or do not intend to fulfill ourselves, but still expect others to fulfill for us.  In this case, it was the Olympic gymnasts stating their truth, in a fashion I would guess was not completely rehearsed but came from the heart, about what it was like to feel like their home country expected them to produce a gold medal for our country.  Like those of us sitting at home watching somehow deserved a gold medal, too.

What came to me as I sat with joy in my heart, as these beautiful talented young women spoke their truth, was how often in life we do this very thing, and how often it leaves us disappointed for reasons that really are not justified.

When we expect things from others that they have not directly agreed to, and oftentimes we never even had a conversation about, everyone is going to be disappointed, and often upset. All too often we expect people to “just know” what we want or need in a particular situation, or that we should “figure it out” through their lens or perspectives when really we’ve only got our own viewpoint to look through.

Sure, are there times we can build some awareness? Yes. If you see a person struggling with hands full to get through the door, help out. They shouldn’t have to ask. But beyond things that are super obvious, keep your expectations to yourself.

First things first, realize you have them. Then, realize they belong only to you. Then ask yourself if you’ve directly spoken those expectations to the person or people you expect to deliver, and then, and only then, look to see if they’re being met.

Just like our Olympic gymnasts, other people don’t owe us anything. We are all in this life doing our best, juggling the tough stuff, pivoting from the unexpected and figuring out how to move forward as effectively as possible in order to get through the day.

Be clear inside of yourself first, and then be clear with those around you. Your expectations are yours, and the only one responsible for fulfilling them is you.

Bringing home the Silver is a huge accomplishment…unless everyone is expecting gold, and then it’s just the first loser.

Being clear on what we expect in any situation is paramount to our own happiness, sense of fulfillment and self care. In addition it helps us show respect and care for others as well.

Now that’s the gold.

Forever the journey,

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