Managing expectations

I laughed so hard at this thinking ‘my god, this is so true!’

I know for some this is not a big deal because they are the kind that rather not discuss expectations but for most I believe we are subjected to a few expectations from the people around us. It may be our bosses (for the latest project paper), parents (I have a list for this), spouses (I’m not too sure but the general idea is: where’s my dinner?), kids (not too sure about this either but most probably: where’re my crayons?), bibiks (Oh oh, this I know: ‘topak’ bibik udah beli Nad?), etc, etc.

I have been struggling to manage expectations that people have on me. I have been telling myself to try my level best to deliver these expectations without stretching myself too thin. But as I go along, it gets a bit out of control. It is only natural that you want to deliver these expectations because you wish to satisfy the respective people discussed but do also spare some thoughts on what you wanted for yourself as well. So, I’ve derived few key strategies to be taken into considerations when you are swamped with expectations:

1. Communicate and discuss expectations openly

This sounds like logic but trust me not many are able to do this. For instance, mama expects me to cook and I said okay, but I will only fry vege and cook on Sunday. She said no. Worth a shot. Maybe that’s a bad example. Let me try again, I told mama she can only discuss marriage with me once a week and that’s it. She said okay but until today she talks about it everyday. You know what, I’m completely missing the point here with these illustrations about my mum. With that being said, these matters have to be dealt with tolerance.You won’t get it your way all the time so don’t expect to win everytime.

Oh wait wait, I have a good example on this one at work. My boss is kind enough to sit with us every week to discuss the things on our plate and whether we can deliver them on time. If not we will try to see which ones can be delegated to others, etc. So yeah, communication is key. And to have an understanding boss is a bonus.

2. Set a limit for yourself

 There’s no use stretching yourself beyond boundaries to fulfill these expectations till you’re left bare at the end of the day. Know your values and limit so that you will keep your sanity while trying to make other people happy. It is also important to note that you can never satisfy everybody and  they’ll always demand more from you so don’t be afraid to say NO (I wish there’s a double line feature to further emphasis this.) when you had enough.

3. Disagreement is not the enemy

Again, we are all different so don’t expect people to nod at every single point you are making. Disagreement can be good when it leads to problem solving and breeds objective discussion. Arguing may not necessarily be negative. Like the members of parliament for instance, we think they at each others throat but the truth is they’re objectively discussing matters to benefit the people. True story.

4. Put yourself first sometimes

Hold on, let’s break this into two:

a) There’re no formulae to derive how often is ‘sometime’ so please don’t ask. Agak-agak sendiri please.

b) I know we were taught since we were fetuses (not ‘feti’ according to Google) to put others first before ourselves. But if we have like 25 ‘others’ to please where each ‘others’ wants and needs contradict one another then you know what, put yourself first. Yes, maybe the decision you make for yourself might be wrong but it is better to learn than spending your life wondering what if you’ve made the choices you want to make?

(b)(I) This only applies to things that are legal, lawful and morally right. Let’s not argue what ‘morally right’ includes at this point shall we.

Well, I guess my ramblings shall end here. Till next time.

Topak – top up in Indonesian slang #mybibikisbetterthanyours

Nadia Ismadi

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