Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Setting Expectations

Greetings.  I am back from vacation - had a really nice time in Florida with my wife and kids.  While we had some interesting weather (tornados and storms), we also had some absolutely beautiful days.  Of course, I learned more from the stormy days than the sunny ones...isn't that how life is?  But that's for another blog day.

Anyway, we had some challenges as a family during the stormy days.  Much of it having to do with life not meeting our expectations.  I was thinking about this over the last few days and was reminded today about something that Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Philippi.  In the first chapter of this letter, Paul says that he can't decide whether it is better that he live or die.  He is focused on doing everything he can to be useful.  To use whatever the day brings.  Seems we could learn something about that.  Paul is able to find joy even while in prison.  Glad that the prison guard knows he's there for his faith.  Glad that it is an encouragement to others to be bold about their faith.  Amazing to me when I think that we allow a bit of bad weather to change our attitude.  Sunny - Happy, Rainy - Bummed.  I'm victim to this as much as anyone, but what I am reminded of is the fact that we shouldn't let our circumstances change our attitude, drive, determination.

In my business I am currently facing some challenges due to the unrest in the middle east.  Frustrating.  Disappointing.  Disheartening.  But should it be?  I think that allowing my circumstances to be disheartening is where I start to miss the mark.

Part of overcoming this is to do a better job of setting and managing expectations.  Now, I am not suggesting that we set the bar so low that anything is better than our expectation.  A defeatist attitude is not what I am advocating.  What I am suggesting is that we set our objectives and build our action plans based on what we can best determine will happen.  Build in some contingencies, and then move forward, confident that if we work our plan, we will have put ourselves in the best possible position for success.  Sure there will be set-backs and unexpected challenges, but with this attitude, we should be able to quickly assess the situation, lean into our pre-determined contingencies, and adjust.

Road blocks, economic conditions, and storms of all kinds, shouldn't affect our attitude or add stress to our lives.  Planning ahead, recognizing those things outside of our control, and setting reasonable expectations, is the key to a enjoyable and joyful life...and vacation too.



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