Do you feel that things should go a certain way? Does your intention involve detailed steps that lead to frustration if things do not happen as you plan? Is there an expectation that your life should look a particular way? Does your life live up to your expectations?
The Power of Expectation
Expectation is a powerful thing. It can drive you to great success and it can lead to disappointment, judgment and regret. In my own life and the lives of friends, family and clients I notice how people paint pictures in their minds about how things are going to work out. Rarely if ever, do things work out how you imagine. If they do, you didn’t get there the way you expected. Expectation is a flight of fancy, a fantasy or dream. When life does not measure up to those expectations, you might feel disillusioned about your skills, abilities and talents and doubt whether you have what it takes to succeed in the way you want.
In my experience, the disparity between expectation and reality is a real one- common, realistic and to be expected. The disappointment comes when you have unrealistic expectations that things will develop as you imagine they will. The truth is they almost definitely won’t. Expectation is a rigid plan, based upon your current knowledge of the way things evolve and past experience. However, this situation is new or at least not identical to the past. Therefore things will evolve in new and unexpected ways.
A Need to Control
Isn’t that the way things go? Doesn’t that match your life experience? If so, why are you surprised when things do not develop as you imagine they will? The answer I think is because you want to be in control. That is certainly true for me. I want to know what is going to happen- the when, the how and the why. I focus on the minute details and start to worry (even panic) when things deviate from the plan. Is that true for you too?
It is convenient to imagine you are in control. I think the ego likes to think it knows how things will be. It gives you certainty, confidence and assurance that things will work out. It might give you the confidence to start something and take the first few steps. Alternatively, it might tell you that you shouldn’t try. That your experience in the past has met with failure, so why bother trying to do it again.
Once you start, very soon, things begin to change. Depending on how hard you grasp onto the projected reality of your expectations, these changes might plunge you into doubt, anxiety and concern. You begin to expend energy trying to control what cannot be controlled. You end up at the final destination exhausted, anxious and in fear. This is not conducive to a mindset that makes the most of where you are and move forward in a positive way.
Rather, you are far from receptive to opportunity and the potential that might unfold from the situation. If you arrive where you are in a mindset of openness and receptivity, not only did you experience the journey in a more peaceful manner, you are also ready to take full advantage of the opportunities unfolding in front of you.
Expectation and Intention
I would invite you to exchange expectation with intention. If you view intention as a light focus on the journey and the outcome rather than a rigid and prescriptive path to the end result, you can more easily let go of the fine detail of how you get there. Instead, you can let things unfold- trusting in the knowledge that things evolve as they will.
What is the mechanism by which this works? If tight control has to give way to light focus, how can you make any plans or strive towards your hopes and dreams? There is something powerful about making plans. It gives energy to your path and direction and empowers you to take action.
There are many factors that contribute to any action. All you can do is take responsibility for your action. In taking action you are setting wheels in motion that send energy out into the world and influence things far beyond anything you can possibility imagine. Therefore you have to let go of control a little. Rather than focus on the minute details, take a broader view and look out for the opportunities that come your way. They may not come from the sources you predict or expect. Some may come from left field that really surprise and support you.
My Personal Journey with Intention
Let me give you an example. In 2015 I took a long hard look at my business and the legacy I want to leave behind. I realised that I had a lot to offer and contribute in the area of health, wellness and confidence. Therefore, I had to look at the way I marketed my business and my client perception as well as the manner of delivering my products. I also had to live my life differently. Rather than living in fear and doubt, I wanted to live with a more positive and trusting mindset. This was, if you like, my Intention. I had expectations about what I wanted it to look like, but not how it was going to happen.
Very quickly, the first step along the way revealed itself. I started a public speaking MeetUp to overcome my fear of talking to groups and began to devise content for courses and workshops that have become the Mindful Movement courses. I also joined and then headed up a Networking group that has brought me tremendous business mentoring and contacts.
My relationship with money needed to be improved and I was offered a free ticket to a money management course that transformed my financial situation and my perception about money. I have been introduced to all kinds of people that continue to support me emotionally and spiritually as I develop personally and professionally. As well as on- going life coaching that has helped me in all areas of my life I have had the good fortune to receive excellent training about marketing and training which has transformed my business visibility and reach.
Holding the Intention Lightly
Each step along the way was revealed to me in an opportunity, a hunch (“gut feeling”, “intuitive leap”, “felt guided to” are all ways of saying this) or a stroke of luck. By keeping my gaze on an open horizon rather than focused at my feet, I noticed the opportunities which took me closer to my goals. Did I miss stuff? Probably, but it seems this is not a one chance lucky dip. Opportunities keep coming. All of this allows me to live free of pressure and anxiety and that makes all the difference in the world. This doesn’t mean I live free of pressure and anxiety. I realise it is self- imposed and that I need to do what I can and at the same time allow life to do its thing as well.
Co- creation is the Key
If I had tried to plot that course back in 2015, I would not have expected to be here and taken the journey I have. In my imagination it looked a lot different- not nearly as effective nor as much fun. It seems that the Universe has had my back all along. To allow that I have had to surrender control of the parts that are truly beyond my control. You have to be a willing participant in the process and co- create the life you want. It doesn’t happen without your active participation. My experience is that I play a very different role than perhaps I realise.
You do not achieve anything in isolation. Your journey depends on so many factors, such as people, timing, synchronicity and luck as well as intention, persistence and tenacity. There is only so much you can control. The rest you have to let go of and trust that things will either work out or they will not. When you speak to successful people, they all say how lucky they have been. They have been willing to go out there and make it happen and they have been blessed with good fortune. Mechanisms seem to happen in the background and the plan comes to fruition in time.
Satellite Navigation System
Mike Dooley speaks about the Universal Satellite Navigation system. Just like your own Sat Nav in the car, once you put in the address, it plots your route. Until you arrive at the destination, you have no idea that you are taking the correct route. You trust the computer software to get you there. The same is true for life it seems. Perhaps we give up too soon. Perhaps we take a wrong turn. As long as we keep going we will arrive at our destination. All we have to do is start the engine, decide the end location and put the car in gear. The rest unfolds one step at a time.
Over to you
That has been my experience. What is your experience? How have your plans and dreams unfolded? Have you tried to bully life into making things happen your way? Did you surrender control and trust that things would work out for the best? I’d love to hear your comments, so please do put your comments at the foot of the page or interact with me on social media.
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