“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~ Alan Watts
For a long time, I felt like I was standing on a riverbank just watching the water of life go by, too scared to jump in and play. I was waiting for the perfect current to come along that I could ride all the way to the completion of my intensely detailed life goals.
I did not want to move until I felt like success was guaranteed and I was certain it was the “right” thing. Life was flowing, and I was not doing anything. You can never be certain about the future.
After all, I was a Gold Medalist in my graduation and working in one of the premier Banks in Management position. By the world’s standards, I was bound to be successful and make lots of money. Instead of feeling excited and free, I felt like a large weight has been put on my shoulders. I had a lot of expectations to meet, all of which were self-imposed. With the weight of these expectations, I got depressed, frustrated, and disappointed with myself.
I expected myself to be successful, which eventually escalated into expectations of perfection in all the areas of my life.
Now why this is a big deal? It is because we deal with it every day and even the best in the world faces this. Mishandling adversity is now commonplace. You can witness its impact on society from grade school to work or home. Mismanagement of the reality-expectation conflict is spiraling out of control.
Where has tolerance gone?
You drive to the bank in a rush to cash a check. Upon arrival you realize it is the “Second Saturday” of the month and the bank is closed. Your expectation did not meet reality, so you become frustrated at the time wasted.
He is ready to propose to the “love of his life.” While on one knee in a busy restaurant he asks, “Will you marry me?” With an astonished look, his envisioned “bride-to-be” hesitates and shakes her head in a sideways “No.” Reality did not meet his expectation.
Reality-expectation conflicts are the times when doubt, despair, disappointment, worry, disgust, regret, loathing, humiliation, embarrassment, shame, or other negative emotions can easily bombard your mind. In addition, these situations of disappointment can easily penetrate the minds of your family members and co-workers. Mental meltdowns can occur. Over-reaction is typical. Drama kings and queens get on their “whiner” soapbox. Physical outbursts can easily scorch the scene of the reality-expectation conflict. The victim and judge in you fight for “live” broadcast time. Anger can and often does rear its ugly head.
Be prepared for the reality-expectation clash!
What is the reaction when: Your child expects to win in a badminton tournament and she or he loses in the first round… You expect a raise at work and it never arrives… For years you have toiled extra hours to finally be rewarded the GM’s chair; but you are passed over by someone younger with less experience… Your spouse expects an amazing anniversary surprise and your work schedule have turned the event into a mediocre, underwhelming affair… There can be many such incidences.
What reality-expectation conflicts are in your life?
He is only 12-years old. He is a great tennis player. He wins a lot, and his national ranking is formidable. Now he is playing a local kid he has beaten multiple times and he finds himself losing to “this loser.” His “on-court” reaction is negative, verbal self-abuse. “I suck!” he screams to the heavens. You want to immediately jerk him off the court. Frozen in disbelief, you do nothing. Finally, he slams his racket on the court. You want to hide. Is this your child? This behavior was learned.
At an expensive restaurant, your food arrives late, cold, and incorrect. Your negative reaction to your delinquent, inefficient and non-caring waiter turns from visible frustration to increased blood pressure and finally overt, over-the-top anger. Is this you or your spouse? This behavior was learned.
Mismanaging reality-expectation conflicts can cause more than hurt feelings!
If you are a parent, get busy and train your child to be aware of the reality-expectation challenge. Teach tolerance. Train him or her to breathe and relax. Get them to focus on what is next and let go of what just happened. Accept the situation, condition, or circumstance for what it is and deal with it. “Move on,” you tell them. “Next” is their new battle cry. Of course, teaching these skills by example is the best preventative medicine.
Champions train for years in handling disappointment and other negative emotions when things do not go their way. Network professionals know that success is a game of managing failure. The greatest performers fail 70% of the time. They are tolerant. They are tolerant. They do not panic and sweat the bad hands they are dealt. Successful pro athletes know that negative reactions to unexpected reality always come back to haunt them. Successful marketing professionals stay in the game to win the game.
Self-awareness is crucial at that moment when reality does not meet your expectation.
When things do not go your way, arm yourself with the instant ability to reduce your breathing per minute by 30-40%. As you read this article, you are probably breathing 15-17 breaths per minute. When you are under stress from conflict your breathing increases to over 20 breaths per minute. This is as opposed to 6-8 breaths when you are in the “Zone” or “Peak Performance” mode.
No one likes a whiner, complainer, grumbler, faultfinder, or moaner. Learn to be tolerant when challenged by the conflict of your high expectation and “surprising” negative reality. Allow a 90-second or less “delay switch” to turn on. No reaction is better than over-reaction. Then lower your breathing with deeper breaths to increase oxygen. This will provide clarity so you can avoid emotions that cloud your reason. Now you can re-focus on what you want, instead of what you do not want.
This note is very much relevant for all of those who are into Direct Marketing. Prepare for great things to happen in your life, business or sport. Envision your success. Just be ready to manage the situation or circumstance when reality does not meet your expectation. Get in touch if you have a passion to succeed.