Friday, March 20, 2015

Managing Expectations - the Key to Happiness?

"How can I help you today?"

I must have said that phrase over a million times in my former role, working in the consumer relations department of a well known running shoe company. Hopefully, I will never have to utter that phrase again as I was promoted to another department! My experience "serving" consumers has been a valuable one, and I think it should be something every human must do at some point because it's extremely humbling. Something my department colleagues and I often said was that our real job in that role was managing expectations, which is something I feel is vital to staying happy. 

I've come to realize that in my personal life I tend to manage expectations as well - my own and the people around me - the ensure things run as smoothly as possible. Now, people like Em and my mother would say they prefer to just have a positive aspirational attitude about things, but for me I am more comfortable and happier when my expectations are either met or surpassed. So this can tend to mean I keep them reaaaaaalllll low... which may seem like a bummer but honestly how great does it feel to be happily surprised by a certain outcome? Now, how good does it feel to be disappointed? You can see why I make this simple choice. It doesn't mean I don't keep a positive attitude, I just accept that things may work out a certain way and prepare for that situation, all the while hoping it goes even better!

Doing this with others is important too - under promise and over deliver I always say. I really hate it when people make promises they can't keep, or commit to things they eventually flake on. I'd much rather people just told me straight up "oh, I'm sorry I am just too busy" or "we really can't afford it right now" as opposed to stringing me along thinking one thing will happen and it never does. Then, I'm happy (and believe you) when you say something and stick to it.

Do you notice yourself managing expectations? Where do you think you fall - keep a positive attitude or be more realistic? Let us know in the comments!

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