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No expectations, no disappointments.

no ex
I’m a planner.
I’m a goal-setter.
I love the strategy that goes along with discerning a five-year strategic plan.
But in addition to my goal-setting-strategic-planning posture, I’ve found that I also need to embrace the discipline of having no expectations.
The things that frustrate, anger, and irritate me have one thing in common:  I don’t like it when what I expect to happen doesn’t happen.
I have expectations of how other people should drive…how my husband should load the dishwasher…and how my boss should respond to my job performance.  And more often than not, my expectations prove to be a fanatical fantasy.
Unfulfilled expectations create disappointment.  But no expectations equals no disappointments.
Growing up, I learned to “expect the best” and all will work out.  And even as an overly-optimistic person, that mantra has not panned out all the time.
Setting zero expectations means that we are open for more creativity in the moment, as well as the unexpected surprises that never disappoint.
I recently got married.  The other day, someone asked me what goal I was excited to accomplish during my first year of marriage.  I thought for a moment, before happily realizing that my main goal for my first year of marriage is to practice not having any expectations.  But to take it day by day.  And learn, and grow as a couple.
William Shakespeare wrote that “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”  By minimizing unneeded expectations, I hope to minimize heartache at home, as well as in the workplace.


  • Jamie

    February 28, 2014

    You are so right! Expectations can lead to disappointment. It is hard not to have that idea in your head though, of how things should be. But it is a habit to practice, just like anything else. Thank you for sharing!

  • Brian Hansford

    February 28, 2014

    A wise friend shared that expectations are the best way to set up a future resentment.

  • Peter Chee

    February 28, 2014

    Great view point Annie. It’s like you were listening in on meeting I was having with someone that I met at the House of Genius, we’ll call her Sara. Sara has an amazing career in big companies, startups, even the US Government, now she’s an entrepreneur and has started up her company. She was talking with me about how she’s enjoyed the journey and she keeps ending up in a good place. I laughed with her about how it’s nice to be able to accept the pace of what you’re doing and just enjoy the ride.
    There’s plenty of cliches out there about slowing down to smell the roses but what you’re describing is more like living in the moment and enjoying the now. I agree. Appreciate the time with each other and have a wonderful experience. It’s something that as an individual you can do that. When it involves other people, I feel like it requires great communication and alignment. In the workplace feels different than on a personal level. How would you approach living in the moment with the workplace similarly as at home?

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