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When Expectations Are Not Met

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Do not treat your unmet expectations as your enemies, but as friends and teachers in your life.

I am a football fan. I love the game at all levels: high school, college, and professional. In high school, the playoffs are now beginning. In college, bowl eligibility and possible championships are pending. In the professional realm, separation from the pretenders and true contenders is becoming clear.

At this point of the season, most teams are discovering that their expectations are not being met and will not be met. This creates moments of enormous tension and stress for individuals, teams, their followers, and of course, the coaches themselves. Few things are as difficult as dealing with unmet expectations.

What should we do when expectations are not met?

1. Evaluate everything, beginning with yourself.

When expectations are not met in your life, the easiest thing to do is to point fingers at others, situations, or even make excuses. It may be true that others may have affected the outcome and situations beyond your control, may have influenced the present condition. However, begin with evaluating everything.

  • Were your expectations reasonable?

  • Were your expectations attainable?

  • What could you have done to improve the outcome?

2. Elevate the process, not the end result.

National championship football coach, Nick Saban stated on “60 Minutes” that he tells his team at the University of Alabama not to look at the scoreboard, but the process; perfect the process and the scoreboard will take care of itself. Nick Saban is exactly right. Far too many times in our culture, we are bent on focusing on the end result rather than the process itself. Consider these thoughts:

  • The process always precedes the product.

  • If you want a better product, change the process.

  • Elevate process even more than your expectation.

3. Expand yourself and the rest will take care of itself.

Expanding yourself is not about increasing yourself, but about growing personally. One of the greatest blessings that can happen from not meeting your expectations is the personal growth that will come if you learn from your experience. Life can be a wonderful teacher if you are willing to learn from it. Ask yourself honestly:

  • Am I teachable?

  • What did I learn?

  • How will I change?

  • What will I do differently?

Yes, if you will grow through every unmet expectation in your life, the rest will take care of itself.

Therefore, do not treat your unmet expectations as your enemies, but as friends and teachers in your life.

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