Expectations – Changing Your Definition of Success

Expectations …

Let me tell you what I have come to learn about them …

They can HARM you.

I am sorry for being blunt but I really need to express my opinion about expectations because I think they are dangerous and can potentially damage your life.

Are Your Expectations Realistic?

10 years ago I started my first business.

It was my expectation that within 12 months, I would  be making $30k per month profit.

Guess what … it didn’t happen

Who Gets Hurt When Expectations Are Not Realised?

I was the one who got upset and frustrated because I didn’t achieve the goal that I had set for myself.

I was on the verge of bankruptcy and very lonely, desperate and unhappy.

Why?  Because my expectation was not met.

Once your expectations are met, be careful …

Once I finally figured out how to make my business work properly, guess what?

I immediately created a new expectation.  This time, I was going to create a business that was going to pay me $500k per year passive income within 3 years.

Surprise, surprise – this didn’t happen either.

I felt flat, unmotivated and UNHAPPY.

Detach Yourself From Expectations

Fast forward 10 years.

WOW – I have let go of expectations.

Don’t get me wrong, I still set goals. (But not ones about x million dollars by an unrealistic date not too far into the future)

I’m just not attached to the goal anymore – which means if it doesn’t happen, I feel still feel OK about it.

The result?

I can focus on helping people.  I let go of my own selfishness and put my energy towards HELPING OTHERS.

Additionally …

  • My productivity has improved
  • My passion has increased
  • My ability to serve others has gone through the roof
  • And in an ironic twist, my bank balance has grown more than I could have ever imagined

Letting Go Of Expectations: Do yourself a favor – drop your expectations about What YOU Want.

Instead, focus every inch of your energy to serving and adding value.

YOUR BUSINESS SHOULD NOT JUST BE ABOUT YOU

I’ve been very inspired by Alain de Botton’s work recently, and he describes the formula for self esteem as success divided by expectations.

Let go of expectations and it will change your life.

p.s Would love to hear if you have any expectations at the moment that are hindering you like they were for me.

About Andrew Roberts

Andrew is well known as one of Australia’s leading business mentors, is a Strategic Business specialist, and has been known to work his own magic with a host of companies featured in various Top 100 BRW lists. Andrew has gone from running one of the largest business coaching companies in Australia to focusing on specialists and leaders of various industries.

  • Alejandra

    You are totally right, that is the formula, 0 expectations to happily receive what comes to us. Thank you for this “to the point” short video

  • JoAnne

    WOW! all I can say is thank you Andrew. LOL I JUST got off Skype with my life partner and I was a little embarassed at telling him that I wanted to postpone my Personal Trainer exam(not my dream job) next month because I felt I needed to study more and I have a business proposal(in a different field) to prepare and present for a grnt subsidized program(which is my dream business). He was VERY supportive and I was so stressed about it and what he’d say and think….for nothing! I had HUGE expectations for myself….I let go. I just opened my emails and there you are….talking about nasty expectations…LOL I know I’m doing the right thing. Thanks again for the timely validation….LOL

    JoAnne

    • JoAnne

      I forgot to mention I tend to focus on too many things, projects, goals at the same time and overwhelm myself with very high expectations…..

    • You’re welcome Joanne. It’s amazing how often things like this happen at the right time.

  • Red Jenneke

    I agree with what you are saying about expectations. The issue is whether people can actually separate goals and expectations. For most people I think the two go hand in hand through an obsession to reach their goal. Its a matter of aiming for the stars and if I only reach the light post, well you’re still off the ground.

  • Brooke

    Acceptance is the key to overcoming the disappointment of high expectations. Accept that it is what it is and we’ll all be happier.

    • So true Brooke. Thanks for sharing this. I hope the break went well as well.

  • I strongly agree with what you say.I feel one should take life as it comes and let bygones be bygones.As Buddha too meant the same thing when he prophesied to forgo expectations and when there is no expectations there is nothing to feel a loss about for anything.The core problem is desire and expect for things which one may not get.No desires….equals No Pain.Thank You for the wonderful article,speaks volumes about your exceptional mindset.

  • Wendywoo

    Makes sense to me … The trick is to have your heart feel what your head already knows though

  • BJ

    Is the word/term expectations interchangeable with desires? Just like expectations, desires change/update/renew when one is fulfilled.
    your suggestion makes sense and co-relates with the Gita that suggests just do your bit and dont attach with the result.
    Although the other school of thought says without desires/expectations, one would become stagnant and satisfied aka not hungry anymore. Ironically “hunger” is what many talent hunting organizations and senior leaderships look for in prospective employees.
    i guess the trick lies in drawing the line !

    • Hi BJ. I have been having countless thoughts about this exact thing now for some time. I know exactly what you are saying. I think this causes a ot of contradiction for so many people (including myself), and often i am not sure what the true answer is. I am going to post this on my facebook site soon – and see what everyone thinks. Thank you for posting this.

  • Sherrie Litster

    I am often reminded of this very powerful verse: “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Thank you for your article. While reading it, this verse came to my mind. I believe it is good advice to follow and helps me to shift my focus on what I have rather than that which I do not have.

    • Such a great verse Sherrie. I have just added to some affirmations that I use. Thankyou

  • Debbie

    Andrew, am enjoying your articles (perhaps enjoying not the correct word, but they help). There is also the pitfall of negative expectations, where we don’t try something because it has not worked before. How do we avoid setting up our children to attain our expectations of them so they are put into this way of thinking? I had a great childhood in a village and lots of friends, having lived in a big city for a long time, moved myself and my daughter to the countryside with the expectation of finding the same for her, it hasn’t worked, there are no hordes of children running in and out of the home. You article is timely and will help me step back and enjoy what we do have and re think what makes us happy.

    • Hi Debbie,

      Its a very good question regarding children and expectations parents have for them. I would love to find an expert and interview them and release this as a blog. I think this must really influence children when they are older. Thanks again for asking this.

  • Ojash Tripathi

    All right about this expectation thing, i am subscribed and just want to know why cant i do what i am supposed to, like concentrating on my studies since i have just started my higher edycation. reply: catsaym@gmail.com

  • fatima

    Hi Andrew!

    i agree completely with your blog..Indeed expectations are nasty!..im experiencing this now..and i feel embarrassed and helpless…so will follow ur advice frm now on and try to free myself from expectations..

    keep guiding us!

  • It’s true about not forming attachments because it really does consume you. Sometimes it even paralyses you from taking future steps.

  • Zain

    Hi, Andrew!

    I might be the only one watching your videos from the Middle East, but I want you to know that I really enjoy them and that you really do inspire me 🙂 I’ve watched a lot of videos on self improvement yet never heard anyone talk about “reducing expectations”. I find this one exceptional.

    Thank you so much!

    Please keep inspiring us!

    Yours,
    Zain

    • its so exciting to know we have someone tuning in from the middle east. I am pleased you liked this Zain. Have a great day. Andrew

  • Very timely Andrew. A lot of synchronicity going on in the last 24 hours…letting go of expectations, listening to my body and intuition – and letting things fall into place rather than trying to ‘make things happen’.

  • Its very true… every single word is as it is amazing diamond, lighting everything around. But dont you think that your success become because of these all expectations, as a result of disappointing, and as a final destination. Would you succeed without all this long and hard way? Strange fillings…

  • John

    I think you are on to something with this flipping of perspective, but I ask one question. You say set goals but everything I read says fluffy goals are worthless, you must be very specific and focus on outcomes. Q/. Is setting targeted and sharp goals not to have an expectation of the outcome? If its okay to fail and if you dont make it so be it, how then do you ‘expect’ to achieve your goals? I read a book recently about Tiger Woods (a golf one) and was left with the overwhelming impression that here is a man that ‘expects’ to win and practices to win. Am I missing something?

  • 666armynofx

    hi! Nice video, I ve been thinking about this subject because I’m living my life torwards the goal of enjoying every moment as much as I can and feeling truely well and happy. Needless to say, my expectations and the expectations of my family and friends get in teh way of this process. when i let go of these expectations and yet still work torwards some valid goals I find life more rewarding and full of love and passion. Thats teh life i want to live and maybe redefining my expectations

  • 666armynofx

    will help me achieve that. I know they have helped cause i experienced it. Althought I can feel the pressure of these expectations quite often and maybe thats whta led me to your videos. For exemple I’m always searching for the girl of my dreams and I completly ignore all teh other ones that I come across. Not knowing that one of tehm could not be the one I dream of , but could be a dream girl :DD eheh thanks for this video , bless you 🙂

  • Kathy Schmidt

    Andrew I’m really enjoying your blog posts and this one really got my attention as it reminded me have some wonderful advice I received from my first coach. He taught me to” just do the work and let go of the outcome”. He also believed in setting big goals and and dreaming big dreams. But most important ofall is enjoying every moment of the journey. Thanks for reminding me of this lesson. It’s a powerful one!

  • Paul lee

    Hi Andrew. My expectations in bbm is most likely the lowest. I am working on my discipline mainly to get my foundation right. It is difficult but getting there.

    • Hi Paul – once the habit is there – it becomes really easy. You are going really well.

  • Anthony

    HI Andrew I have been following your posts etc for the past 3 years and you always give me something new, so thanks for that. I have been to so many seminars courses etc and yes they say mix with those that are making it big and most certainly the flip side is more pressure and a feeling of not being good enough and comparison….so
    dissabillitating so thanks yet again for a very cool insight.

    • Thanks Anthony. i dont really understand why seminar leaders tell you ditch your friends etc and hang out with people always doing better than you. Yes – its true, you do become the average of the people you mix with – but it can really rub off from you in a negative way and take the joy of life away. I truly dont get why our society has decided that success is measured by how much money you can make or how big your house is etc. For me – that stuff just comes when you are true to yourself and not trying to be something your not….. thanks for sharing.

  • Mary Quinn

    I suffer from depression and have low self esteem great listening to this

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