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Acceptance vs. Expectance



One observation that I have found lately and wanted to share with you, is the concept of Acceptance vs. Expectance. Recently, I was in a conversation with a client in which a profound revelation came to her, it was what I call the "light bulb moment", when it all clicks... but it was in these two little words I shared with her that it happened. "Acceptance" or "Expectance".


The shift of these two words for her own inner dialogue enabled her to let go of the distress she had been experiencing in performance and gain some ground. Often it is our own narrative that is self-defeating, and not the circumstances themselves. Recognizing this was key to her ability to make progress. So, let's dissect it here for a moment.


Expectance. Expecting. When we expect things to go a certain way, to be a certain way, when our environment is not optimal, or when people don't respond in the way that we would choose to respond, we may find ourselves in a place of unwanted thoughts or emotions. When what we expected is not our reality, there is dissonance. Aka, the mental gap, the gap between expectations and reality which can lead to distress. The distress of unwanted emotions or thoughts can wedge themselves into our experience and force our focus to be elsewhere, usually on things we cannot control. This shift in our focus, leads us to waste valuable energy on unchangeable circumstances.


Another area of expectance, especially for high performers, is in our self-expectations. The very nature of competition is wanting to win, we are competitive, and results oriented. We keep the bar high and expect so much from ourselves that no matter what we do, in our minds it did not measure up to what we envisioned for ourselves. We then try to compensate and place more pressure on ourselves which leads to inauthenticity, anxiety and adjustments that are less than ideal. This can be a vicious cycle that only perpetuates our frustrations.


The bottom line for both of these scenarios is that our focus is on the outcome. We expect results. We expect to see what our hard work equates to, however the reality is that performance will always have highs and lows. It's the high that we love and embrace, but the low that keeps us coming back for more.


So rather than expect, let's accept. Accept the process. Accept the moment we are in, rather than seeing all that it is not. Accepting removes the compensation that happens when we expect. Accepting allows us to see the growth opportunity in any environment or encounter. We can settle into our natural authentic self, rather than creating pressure that is self-defeating.


Now what I am not saying here is to just give up, I am simply saying shift your focus to the moment now. Accept the moment for what it is and place your energy on that which you have control over. Become mindful, mindful of your own inner dialogue, the shift in two words can make a profound difference. Your own narrative is a powerful mechanism for performance.

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