There is usually an ulterior motive when we do something for others. We may not think that there is, consciously. We may even deny it. But deep down, we do things to receive something in return.
It maybe something as obvious as payment or a favour, but more often than not, we want recognition, acknowledgement for what we did. We are after praise of our efforts and our thoughtfulness. We want them to know that we did something for them, and that makes us the better person.
Sometimes though this expectation can be connected to our own value. When that happens, we NEED someone else’s approval or affirmation in order to feel better about ourselves.
Our self worth is determined by other’s perception of us. If we don’t get acknowledgement or praise, we take it out on our fragile self esteem. We blame ourselves for not doing a better job, for not making a grander gesture.
Some people even feel this way, from having done nothing. This sense of entitlement, that the world owes us them something because they were born, because they are the age that they are, because they are the sex or race that they are, because of where they were born or who their parents or ancestors are.
This is a terminal entitlement that builds up over time and more often than not, they’ve spent their whole life fighting and being bitter, for nothing.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
Whichever way you look at it, expectations are self-destructive and can lead to disappointment, regret and even frustration and anger. If not at the recipient, then at ourselves.
I get it, deep down, you don’t want to feel like you’re missing out on something or that you’re being taken advantage of. But that is no way to live. It’s like opening a loop in your mind that you never close.
You will always feel unfulfilled, unappreciated and maybe unaccepted. This may direct the rest of your decisions in life. If that’s the case, you know what, it’s not going to be a very satisfying life.
We need to stop expecting anything of anyone. That’s the trick to avoid disappointment. Stop effing expecting! If you want to do something for someone, do it off your own back, out of your own heart. Do it for the person you’re doing it for, not for you. The moment you bring your ego into it, is the moment you’ve lost.
Do helpful, considerate, wonderful things and do it anonymously if possible. That way you’re guaranteed your ego isn’t involved. Only you will know, and that should be enough.
Let go of what’s happened in the past. You can’t change it now. Stay in the present. Don’t stop giving your all and doing your best. Keep doing what you’re doing to the best of your abilities.
When you do that, and you don’t expect anything in return, you’ll be happier. You’ll redirect that attention to self satisfaction for your efforts. Be content with that.
What to Expect in the Business World
When you’re working, things are a little different. It’s not about ‘I’m doing this for you, helping you out, doing you a favour or giving you a gift, one on one, out of the goodness of my heart.’ It’s about business. Your success is determined by your efforts.
In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say, wherever possible in a job, overdeliver. Do more than what people expect of you.
Underpromise and overdeliver; It’s long been the catch-cry of the business world for a reason. Don’t expect anything in return for everything you do, but I guarantee, if you’re consistent, over time people will notice.
Let other’s expect a standard level from you and then blow them away with your work by going above and beyond. That is really the secret sauce of success. That’s the longterm game plan. That’s the way you stand out and get noticed in a sea of employees or businesses offering the same products or services as you.
If you work for someone else, you’re getting paid for what you do. You’re exchanging work for money and benefits. You have a job description and deadlines and a certain standard of expectation from you.
But if you consistently overdeliver or in other words do better, put in more effort, more hours, get things done under the deadline or do a higher quality of work, over time you’ll get noticed. People can’t help but notice.
The next time an employee evaluation comes around or there’s an opportunity for a higher paid position or promotion, you’ll be a contender. Before you know it, you’re climbing the corporate ladder to management positions.
What to Expect when You’re Self-Employed
If you work for yourself, then how you treat each customer or client, determines not just what they owe you in exchange for services rendered, but each interaction can affect your future opportunities for business. Whether you do a good job or a bad job, you’ll probably still get paid but when you overdeliver you get so much more.
You get good feedback, recommendations, word of mouth, repeat business, build relationships, people will want to work with you or for you, you’ll get opportunities for growth and more money.
Give people a general standard for what to expect from you and your work, don’t shortchange them, but then every time, overdeliver.
When you do overdeliver, you exceed people’s expectations. With social media being the powerhouse marketing tool of the century, with word of mouth, recommendations and testimonials, you’ll soon see an increase in clients or customers and subsequently an increase in serious pocket change.
You don’t have to overdeliver yourself towards bankruptcy. You can even just overdeliver on customer service, how you treat people. That can go a long way in today’s digital, abrupt, busy, rushed world. Or don’t underestimate how you can overdeliver on packaging, faster delivery times, post service followups.
If you’re not sure how else you could overdeliver, ask people what they want. There’s always room for improvement. Send out a customer feedback form or make it convenient for people to offer suggestions on your website. Be a business that listens to their customers, that is always trying to improve and do better. That’s the way to stand out. The key to success.
Give More. Expect Less.
Whether in a business or your own personal life, expectations can be a disappointment to our egos. Train yourself to not expect anything from anyone and just focus on your own actions. Do more, be more, go further. Be proud in being that person. You’ll develop strength of character and be noticed in the overpopulous of underachievers and entitlement holders.
When people do notice, see it as an unexpected win. A nice surprise to be acknowledged, recognised or praised. But don’t live for it. These little wins should not determine your value or be the backbone of your worthiness. Don’t expect anything and you’ll eventually reap the rewards for your efforts.