A family friend once said to a very anxious teen me, “Expectations are planned resentments.” I didn’t know it at the time, but this statement would resonate with me throughout my adult life (adult life so far I should say). I also didn’t know that the origins of this slogan came from 12-step programs, which is also interesting. Open for interpretation depending on circumstances, I use this as a philosophical check point as I navigate through this leadership life.
In my current position, we are merging with another organization, and my job will either get really big and exciting, or it will go away completely. This is pretty scary for me. I have worked hard for the last 8 years to build something special, and it could just be sold off to this other entity. But, there is a choice, and I can either make it or break it. The key being ME. I have the power to do something big, or let something happen to me.
I am clearly choosing the former! Otherwise why are you reading this blog about being a bad ass leader anyway?
The subject matter quote in this instance means that I cannot just expect something to happen to me just because I worked hard to get here. There is still more work to be done, and following through is everything. A new player in the game doesn’t relegate me to the sidelines, rather, it presents a new opportunity to show others what I am made of. This reframe has been really important to me this week as the final agreement inches closer to completion.
Keeping this in mind, I have started to do my part of the integration my way. I am essentially doing all the things that I have been talking about in my previous blogs. I am speaking up frequently when I see people behaving without integrity or trying to cut corners. I am challenging the way people have always done things so we can start out on the right foot when all is said and done. Most importantly, I am being brave; brave for my team and advocating for their place in the new structure.
Something I learned in an article recently is that people pin their hopes and happiness on fulfilled expectations. What happens when we are expecting the wrong things? Or what happens when we are expectant so much that we leave little to the imagination of what could be? This is something I have had to accept and let go of in order to really be able to dive deep into this merger process. If I am really walking my talk, then I have nothing to lose and everything to gain in this situation, no matter what the outcome. Being reassured by my integrity and grounded in my values is the biggest win for me.
Expectations are what you make of them. If you want something, go out and get it. Just make sure you are doing it for yourself. I promise the uncertainty is worth it.
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