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  • Writer's pictureJim Hostler

Change Expectations to Promises for Results.

Expectations and promises are two distinct aspects of human interaction that play a significant role in our lives: our inner dialogs, what we do, and also affecting all of our relationships in our lives. They are fundamental in our perceptions we have of life, affecting our beliefs, values and behaviours. They also affect our personal awareness and growth... the keys to our journey of transformation. While expectations often remain unspoken assumptions, given by our culture and history, promises carry the transformative power of commitment and accountability. Let's look at how expectations can sometimes be a double-edged sword, while promises have the potential to move mountains.

The Weight of Expectations

Expectations, whether we realize it or not, are a part of our daily lives. We set expectations for ourselves, our friends, family, and colleagues. These are unspoken assumptions about how people should act, what they should achieve, and how they should treat us. They are born and reside in our cultures and history. However, expectations can often lead to disappointment, frustration, and strained relationships. Here are some key aspects of expectations:

1. Unspoken Assumptions: Expectations are often uncommunicated. We assume that others should know what we want or how we want to be treated. When those assumptions are not met, it can lead to misunderstandings and resentment. Misunderstandings and resentments are stepping stones to breakdowns.

2. Lack of Accountability: Expectations don't come with a sense of responsibility or accountability. If someone doesn't meet our expectations, we may feel let down, but there's no external commitment or consequences for the other person. These let downs often are brushed off as a miscommunication between what you and I assumed the expectation was.

3. Negative Emotions: Unmet expectations can lead to negative emotions like anger, frustration, resentment, or disappointment. This can create a cycle of conflict and distance in relationships.

4. Incompletions: Unmet or unfulfilled expectations can mount up as incompletions in our life. They become the lingering let down, resentment, unfulfillment, or disappointment, and these linger in the background of relationships. Incompletions fuel inauthentic relationships.

stone stacked on top of each other balancing
stones balancing

The Transformative Power of Promises

Promises, on the other hand, are explicit commitments that carry a weight of responsibility and accountability. Making promises, whether to yourself or others, can be a powerful tool for personal growth and building stronger relationships. Here's how promises differ from expectations:

1. Clarity and Communication: Promises require clear and explicit communication. Who is going to do what, by when is the fundamental elements of a promise. When you make a promise, you are stating your intentions and committing to a specific course of action. Promises reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings, breakdowns and incompletions.

2. Accountability: Promises come with a sense of responsibility and accountability. When you make a promise, you are accountable and responsible for fulfilling it. These become the inspiration to fulfill the promise.

3. Building Trust: Keeping promises builds trust in relationships. When others see that you are true to your word, they are more likely to trust and rely on you. In this way, promises strengthen the bonds between individuals. When you build trust with someone, you also are seen as having value. They value who you are because you can be trusted.

4. Personal Growth: Making promises to oneself can be a powerful tool for personal growth. By setting clear promises, goals now become the milestones and measurements to fulfilling your promises... a complete contextual shift in how to utilize goals in your life.

The transformative power of promises lies in their ability to inspire (in-spirit) you to take and be in action. Promises are in contrast to hopes, dreams, wishes, resolutions, and goals, where most, if not all of them, go unfulfilled. When you make a promise, you enter into an agreement of responsibility and commitment that is unparalleled. As a divine creator, with language being how we create our world - "in the beginning was the word...", promises are generative language. They literally have the power to generate your new future because you promise yourself to fulfill a result, that today, does not exist.

When you promise an outcome, a promise gives you clarity, direction, focus, and velocity in being able to fulfill your promise. You respond into a promise with your behaviours and actions to fulfill it. In contrast to promises, expectations will have you reacting to people, circumstances and events in order to satisfy the expectation.

In the realm of personal awareness and growth, and interpersonal relationships, expectations and promises represent two distinct approaches. Expectations are often unspoken, leading to misunderstandings and disappointment. Promises, on the other hand, are explicit commitments that carry accountability and inspire action. Promises transform lives and relationships while building trust, being seen as someone people value and have authority. Being a person someone can count on to fulfill their promises is a foundational element to being a leader.

In essence, while expectations may weigh you down with unmet assumptions, promises have the power to move mountains. By replacing unspoken expectations with explicit promises, you can build stronger connections with others and create a path to achieving any result you desire in your life.


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