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Tag Archives: Expectations

Eating an Elephant

11 Feb

There are times in all of our lives when we have a lot to do, things are complicated, and we’re under stress. A hundred things could be happening, and we may find ourselves struggling to keep up and manage it all. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at times like these and we may think we can’t handle it. When there’s a lot going on and a lot expected of us, we can feel like we’re chasing a train. There is no way to catch it but it can seem we’re expected to anyway. It’s hard to navigate everything when there’s a lot happening, but we can manage it more effectively if we step back and take it one step at a time. If we do the first step, and then the next, one after the other we’ll manage everything and get to the finish line. We don’t have to look ahead and try to do all that must be done going forward. It’s enough to tackle what must be done today. We can keep the long range goal in our sites, but if we focus only on what we must accomplish today, we will more effectively move forward. Stress can make it hard to think and see things clearly. Taking one day at a time will help alleviate that. Perhaps you’ve heard the old question, “How do you eat an elephant?” We all know the answer – one bite at a time. The same is true when we have a lot weighing on us. We can accomplish it by taking it one bite at a time.

There are many facets to our lives and at times it seems every one of them is pressing for our attention. Perhaps our families have special needs, and our projects at work are intense, and the car needs servicing, and we have to get supplies for the neighborhood party, and we forgot we promised to help a friend with a repair, and a dozen other things. Each task is easy to complete on its own, but when they are all jumbled together we can feel buried alive with no air to breathe. But each task, no matter how pressing, can be managed. If we take a few moments and make a plan, and determine how much we can accomplish today and what we can postpone until tomorrow, we will succeed. We are perfectly capable of managing our lives, no matter how complicated they become. We have the key to un-complicate them. We just need to take care of today. Tomorrow we’ll do tomorrow. And the next day we’ll manage that day. If we take it one step at at time, we’ll succeed in getting everything completed.

In this day and age it seems there are more expectations on us than ever before. There is always something more others want from us. But we are in control of our lives and we can say no if we need to. We don’t have to do everything we’re asked to do. We know how much we have already, and if adding more to the “to do” list will break the bank, we can decline. Saying no is an appropriate and sensible choice when saying yes would overwhelm us. We may disappoint the person asking for our time, but agreeing to do something we don’t have time for will only set us up for failure. It’s better to wisely monitor our choices so we can accomplish the commitments we’ve made. We are in charge of our lives and our decisions. It’s fine to say no when we need to. Being proactive in our choices will help us feel more control and enable us to better manage our responsibilities. We all want to be helpful, but sometimes that means we need to take care of what we have already and decline the opportunity to do more.

Today if you’re feeling overwhelmed with all you have to do, stop for a moment and look at what you can reasonably accomplish today. Make a plan to complete those tasks and tomorrow begin again. You can do anything but you can’t do it all at once. Just take care of today. One step at a time is all you need to take. Keep moving forward and you’ll find all the success you’re seeking.

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Potential Greatness

12 Jul

Everyone is different. We all have our share of problems, talents, gifts, and drawbacks. Nobody gets all the good stuff or all the bad stuff. Everyone has a combination of things that make them feel confident, and things that try their patience. And every day we all have the potential for greatness. Not greatness in the worldly sense, like becoming President or world leaders, but greatness in the human sense. We can be great assets to those around us, great examples for good, and great inspirations to everyone we come in contact with. The potential is there, but potential does not guarantee we’ll gain those qualities. Potential is unrealized expectation. We have the ability to become great but we have to realize it, and we have to express it.

It’s easy to skate through life. We can do just enough to get by, we can be just nice enough to get what we want, and we can share just enough of ourselves that we are accepted. It takes effort to do more. We are all certainly capable of more, but that requires time, and it requires attention. Instead of choosing to do just enough to get by, if we want to be great, we need to choose to do the best we can all the time. Instead of being just nice enough to get what we want, we must choose to extend ourselves for others, and help whenever help is needed. And instead of sharing just enough to be accepted, we have to be fully engaged, fully participating, and actively involved.

Mediocrity is easy. We don’t have to do much, or give much. It’s easy to blend in. But it’s not as rewarding or fulfilling as pushing ourselves to be the best we can be. When we push for greatness we learn to feel things more deeply, and we become a higher version of ourselves. We can always be more than we are. We can be more sensitive, more understanding, more compassionate, and more human. If everyone tried to be the best they could be, the world would become a far different place. There would be more love and less conflict, more sharing and less greed, more caring and less indifference. It would be a better place, and we can do our part to make that happen.

Today as you go about your life, as you take care of your details, as you interact with others, remember you have the potential for greatness within you. It’s already there waiting to be expressed. Today do something more to extend that to those around you. Use your potential to the fullest. You have the power to change the world. Today think about how you could change it for good.

Enough is enough.

27 Mar

Expectations.  We all have them.  Others have them for us.  It seems everyone expects us to be this or that, to look like this or that, to act this way or that way, to do things one way or another.  There are expectations everywhere.  You pick up a magazine and nobody in it looks like you.  They don’t even look like anyone you have ever known, but the expectation it seems, is that we should all look like the flawless, perfect, successful, people on those glossy pages.  That’s not only absurd, it’s impossible.  We read stories about 70 year old men who are still running marathons, 60 year old women who look like they are 30, and 30 year old people who are making millions of dollars.  And in each story there seems the implication that if we just worked harder we, too, could be like them.  And often it seems the expectation is that we should want to be like them.  But should we be comparing ourselves to that?

There is always someone in our sphere who expects us to somehow be different than we are and when we don’t meet that expectation, they express their dismay and disappointment.  “Just try a little harder to be the person I think you should be and you’ll be happier,” they seem to say.  But should we be listening to that?  Should we be striving to be someone that somebody else thinks we should be.  Could they possibly know more about us than we know about ourselves?

Most of us have an idea of the person we want to be.  We have personal goals, things we’d like to improve on, things we’d like to do better, things we’d like to stop doing.  Those goals are, as I said – personal.  They belong to us.  They are ours alone.  We set them and we decide how to manage them.  Some we meet, some we let go of, some we keep working on.  The important thing to understand is that they are just ours and nobody else’s.  So when others express their defined expectations for us, we can and should evaluate if those expectations define where we want to go before we give them any credence.  We are the ones who set the standard for the person we want to be.  It really doesn’t matter what our families think we should be, what our friends think we should be, what the world thinks we should be, or what our lovers think we should be.  The important thing is that we become the people WE think we should be.  That is the only way to be genuinely who we are.

We don’t have to fit into anybody’s model to be enough.  We don’t have to become someone else’s design of us.  We are enough just as we are.  We are enough because only we can decide who we want to be and how we want to live.  Nobody’s else’s ideas about those parameters matters.  They don’t matter.  We own who we are.  We decide who we will become.  We choose how we will live.  That’s what matters.

You are enough just as you are.  You are enough.  And as long as you are living your life honestly and in the direction you want to go, you are succeeding.  You get closer every day to where you want to be.  Let the world say what it will, let the expectations roll off, and keep your eyes on the goal you set for yourself.  You are enough.  You will become who you choose to become.  Be clear, be brave, and keep true.