Great Expectations

I’m going to get all English lit up in here.

Oh, yes, I titled this post after David Copperfield’s famous novel; but don’t think I’m actually going to be discussing the life of Pip right now.

No, it was another Englishman that led me to this topic today- Billy Speares:

Ah, expectations. The death of me.

I realized, when I saw this quote, that expectations really make or break our perspectives in life. And that’s what it’s about- is managing our perspective.

Expectations in Work

I am in sales, so I especially focus on expectations in my job. I never want to promise something I can’t deliver. It just makes you look terrible; like you don’t know what you’re doing. I learned that the hard way. Now I conservatively estimate everything. The sale is a $20M deal? Yeah, I’m going to say it’s $10M. We’ll have it ready in three days? Better tell them seven, just to be safe.

Bosses also have expectations of employees. Manage those. They want a brief in by Monday? Better get it in. Get it done early, but not too early, or they’ll expect everything too early. Unless you can commit to being early every single time- don’t.

Expectations in Love

Ah, yes, the heartache part.  I think where people get in trouble in love and relationships is when they are expecting something from the other person.  It’s hard not to expect things when you get used to something. Like a text every morning. Or a call every night. Or Saturday nights blocked for date night. Or they’ll take out the trash- it’s their job. Or they’ll get me something for Valentine’s Day because I mean something to them. Or he’ll commit to me and be my boyfriend/fiancé/husband/father of my child. Or he’ll stay loyal to me.

Let. It. Go. Expect NOTHING. Just accept everything. Enjoy what your sig other has to offer. Ask if you want something. Communicate if you need something. But don’t just expect.

Expectations in Others


I love when people think all people are courteous drivers, for instance. The majority of people are, but there are some outliers. You can’t expect everyone to be a great driver. You can expect that someone will cut you off at least once in your life.

I had to learn about L.A. Flakers when I moved here. I usually expect people to show up to things, and here, they just bail (not everyone, but a lot of people). It is so frustrating.   Just know these things happen. It’s called life. You can’t possible hold every person to the same standards as you. Everyone came from somewhere in life and it doesn’t necessarily align with yours. Just let things happen around you and manage your own behavior- not theirs.

Now what?!

So what can you do? Well, you can’t always control others. Plus that’s kind of creepy. And you would either be puppeteer or a robot creator. What you can do- is you can control the expectations you put out there. Under promise and over deliver. The old cliché strikes again. Seriously- be realistic with people. Set expectations up front. Be honest with people. And if you go above and beyond, no one’s gonna hate you for it.

On the flip side? Expect nothing from others. Unless it’s a job or a school situation where an evaluation of measurement is concerned. Sports even. Help your kids aim high. Help your employees aim high. That sort of thing.. but just know, not everyone is going to hit that mark. And be ready for that. Be ready to coach, and support and help. Just set the expectation at the beginning- so everyone is clear as to what is expected of them. And create a plan for hitting those expectations.


Sometimes expectations are great, sometimes not so great. The result of failed expectations is disappointment. I think we all hope for the best in others, and we expect a lot. Or we expect what we would do for others, they’ll do for us. It’s not always that way. Learn to manage expectations, and you’ll find it will put those around you, including yourself, at ease.


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