Last week I jumped onto a conference call via zoom with my consultant, Cari. I’m always so happy to see her smiling face and hear her voice. But the thing I look forward to the most is the lettering behind her on her wall: “Something wonderful is about to happen.”
Do you wake up with that expectation every morning? What a wonderful way to start each day! We all have so much more control (and responsibility) for our lives than we think. Research clearly states that what we expect to happen likely will indeed happen! We are all familiar with Henry Ford’s admonition: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
What we expect (expectation) and what we say with regularity or intensity (exclamation) truly do determine how our day will go and where we will end up (destination).
Let’s begin with destination. I love what Michael Hyatt says about the relationship between our desired destination and the clarity of our expressions about that destination. He says most of us don’t carefully consider or choose our destination. Most of us are prone to drifting. And drifting rarely (NEVER?) takes us to a destination that we would have otherwise chosen.
Pause with me for a moment. Where do you hope today takes you? Where would you like to be tonight when you put your head on the pillow? Not just geographically, but in your mind, in your heart, and in your progress on your journey? Where would you like to be by the end of the week? How about in a month? How about by the end of the year? How about in five years? I hope you will take time to consider these things. Living in a mode of “we’ll see what happens…” or “Que sera sera, whatever will be will be…” leaves your destiny in the hands of “that’s life,” or, in the hands of those around you.
Take a moment, grab a piece of paper and a pen, and answer these three questions:
1. What do I hope and pray my life will look like in:
2. What goals would I need to accomplish for that to occur?
3. How would I feel if those things occurred in a month? In a year? In five years?
You decide your desired destination. Research reveals that you are over 90% more likely to arrive at your desired destination if you write it out.
One good definition of expectation is looking forward to something occurring with great probability.
We all live in expectation. Unfortunately, we are often programmed to have negative expectations. Once that negative is planted in us, our reticular activating system is always busy looking for negative things to expect. (Click here to read my blog about our reticular activating systems.) This reinforces the negative expectation, and we begin to veer off the path that would take us to our chosen destiny.
One of the things I teach my clients and my Life Coaching students is to manage their expectations. How can our expectations be managed?
1. By being intentional.
When you wake up in the morning, set your expectations before you even get out of bed. Do not wait until your first cup of coffee, because what happens between the alarm going off and your first sip of that java will set the expectations for you. Do not allow Fox News or CNN to set your expectations. Because they will likely have you depressed or anxious in your first five minutes of being awake. You must be very intentional about setting your expectation in the mornings. I carefully choose the song that will play when my alarm goes off. This is intentional. This starts the process of setting my expectations. I refuse to use the snooze button. I jump right up and begin dancing around my bed! While making my bed, I say specific things (out loud!) about my expectations for the day.
2. By doing expectation checks throughout the day.
Take a few moments throughout the day to press pause and do a check on your expectations. If you find yourself expecting to be tired, change that expectation. If you find yourself expecting things to go wrong, change that expectation. You can manage your expectations, but you will need to check in on them several times a day, and make course corrections.
3. By understanding that expectation is contagious.
Be careful with whom you spend your time. If you
are surrounded by Doubting Thomas’s with negative expectations, you will find
yourself migrating in that direction. Devote your time and energy to
people, groups, and situations that promote positive expectation. One of the
reasons I listen to inspiring messages while I put on my make-up and get
dressed every morning is because I know that their positive expectation will be
contagious to me!
Research in neuroplasticity has shown that both the words we say internally, and the words we speak out loud, are constantly re-training and re-directing our brains.
What we think and what we say matters! An ancient proverb says, “… as a man thinks in his heart, so he is ….” Another says, “… the power of life and death are in the tongue ….” (Click here to read my blog about the power of words.) The words we think and speak are constantly either driving us toward, or away from, our desired destiny. And the intensity with which we rehearse the thoughts, or speak them aloud, determines the extent of their impact.
It is my job as a therapist, Life Coach, Business Coach, and Executive Coach, to listen to people’s words. Their words tell me about their current course to a destination. Often, it is not the desired destination that they have told me about. Often what I hear are desired-destination-destroyers such as:
- Things don’t usually work out well for me (from someone hoping to find a good relationship)
- I can’t help but worry all the time (from someone hoping to have an anxiety-free life)
- I’m not very good at selling (from someone struggling to meet her sales quota)
- I can’t really change who I am (from someone who has poor relationships with his adult children)
- I am just thin-skinned and things upset me easily (from someone with a leadership position in a church)
What are you saying to yourself? What are you saying out loud on a moment-to- moment basis? These are the things that will point you and accelerate you on the path to your desired destination; or, throw you completely off course!
What can you do to ensure that your exclamations are pointing you in the right direction?
1. Write a power proclamation that you say aloud every morning that you are certain will point you in the right direction.
Here is one of my power proclamations:
On this day I set a new standard
I will lead and not follow
I will believe and not doubt
I will create and not destroy
I will encourage and not tear down
I am a force for God’s best
I have “settled” for too long, and today I step up and step out to defy the odds
Today I expect and accept God’s best for me.
Write your own. Say it out loud every morning.
Keep it on your phone and read it several times a day.
2. Develop a self-accountability routine.
Pay attention to what you’re thinking and saying. And when you realize you are off course, do something to make yourself aware and hold yourself accountable to change it. For example, I have a ring that I normally wear on my index finger on my left hand. For years, when I found myself thinking or speaking things out loud that are steering me off my path, I would take the ring off, and hold it in my left palm until I made my course correction.
However, now that I have a “fashion accessory” that is better known as a big ole nasty brace (that runs from my shoulder to my fingertips on my right arm), it’s not as easy to take my ring off and on. So currently, I have changed to “dialing” the extension on my brace to a very uncomfortable position, and then not releasing it until I have made the course correction.
Set some self-accountability for yourself and
practice it regularly!
3. Select an accountability partner, and ask that they gently remind you when you are saying things that are distractive to your desired destiny path.
No matter what your current situation is, no matter how depressed or anxious you may be, no matter how hopeless things may seem, no matter how stuck you may feel … you can begin to turn the tide by simply writing about your desired destination. Then set your expectation, review your exclamations, and you will begin to see things change.
You truly can have a peaceful and joyful life. Will there be roadblocks? Of course! Kick them out of the way! Will there be hurdles? It is guaranteed! Jump over them! Will there be people who will stick out their foot to trip you? Absolutely! Grab them by the arm and invite them to run with you! You will become very protective of your path to your desired destiny.
Two years, seven months, and two days ago (but who’s counting!), I encountered all of those challenges at once. What happened? While stepping out into a polished concrete landing at the top of the stairs to turn on the lights, I inadvertently stepped on a small stack of chair mats. I slid, flipped high in the air, and came down HARD on my right side. My fall shattered my right arm and my shoulder blade.
Now, consider that my life-long desired destiny
at that point in my life was to share the valuable life lessons I had learned. And, my plan was to share those lessons in an
online format. But while I was lying in agony on that slick concrete floor, it
certainly seemed that that destiny was now simply impossible! I no longer had a
right hand to write with; or two hands to type with. One day I heard myself say out loud, “It looks
like my online content development will just have to be put on hold.” I was
actually shocked that I heard those words come out of my mouth! I made an
immediate course correction! I began saying that not only could I write with my
left hand, but that it was supposed to make me smarter. (And lo and behold, I
am now a lefty!) I have learned to use talk-to-text apps. And not only have I
stayed on my journey to my desired destination, I have overcome every
limitation and met every goal!
What is your desired destination? Write it down! Write it clearly! And if it seems to take a while, wait for it! It will surely come to pass! I’m just a Texas girl, and if I can do it; YOU can do it!