On this, “Ask Katrina,” the question is:
“Hey, Katrina, why do I feel like there are so many expectations placed upon me?
The holiday season can absolutely generate some feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.
I think we can all relate to feeling like there’s never enough time in the day, no matter the time of year, but especially this time of the year.
Holidays are when our professional lives and personal lives collide and then we have to deal with the aftermath.
The question for today around expectations usually comes from feeling expectations placed upon us at work.
The corporation is a machine.
It’s going to keep rolling, and it’s going to keep moving, so you’ve got to be able to keep up.
Because if you’re not, it’s gone.
So there’s the expectation to both keep up and to deliver within our careers.
Then there’s another expectation that our family and our friends and those that we love, and those who love us, inherently placed upon us. The expectation of time, attention, focus, and prioritization.
And of course we want to spend time with them. So it’s not like it’s one-sided.
The reality is that we truly do want it all. We want to support our careers, we want to be successful in the company, and we want to add value. While at the same time, we want to spend time with the people that we love and create amazing memories.
And right now more than any other time, those demands are overlapping, and they feel like they are competing, without much give, right?
When we feel like there’s no room for either side to give or to create a reasonable balance, it’s tough.
So the reason why you feel like you have expectations placed upon you is because in some instances, you actually do.
But are you ready for the reality on this one?
The bulk of the expectations we feel on our shoulders are there because we put them there.
That’s right. We do the bulk of the damage here.
The Placer of Expectations
We expect that we should be all things to all people.
We expect that we should be able to perform at the highest level.
And beyond that, we define and decide what that highest level is.
Many times we think that the company is dictating that to us. But in reality, the company starts with the ask and we add to it simply as a means of feeling more accomplished.
There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s zero wrong with that. And there’s no judgment for it.
The reality is that we just simply need to be aware of all of the players in this game of life and who is doing what.
When we acknowledge that we are the primary culprits of setting expectations, placing demands, and creating an almost impossible path to success, then we can do something about it.
There’s always some struggle and some pain and a pressure to perform sometimes.
But with any great talent, there’s always going to be pressure to perform.
Think of all the athletes that exist out there, think of the performers, the musicians, all of those folks have pressure to perform.
So there’s nothing wrong with it.
It’s just the reality that we have to acknowledge.
We always have external demands and external expectations from our professional lives and our personal lives.
But because we are who we are, as high achievers, we take those expectations and we amplify them.
So the way to navigate through this is to not only understand who’s placing expectations and recognize that many times that finger that’s going outward should really be pointing inward, but to also understand if we are the one’s amplifying those expectations.
What I want you to do when you feel like people at work, or people in your personal life are putting demands upon you is to 1. look at the expectation and then 2. ask yourself, did you amplify it?
Did you amplify it?
If you get invited to a party, and you’re ready to go hang out with your friends, but you believe in your heart that you simply cannot show up without bringing two or three dishes of food, for example, or you’ve got to drop by and pick up some wine, you’ve amplified.
You have made certain things a must, that really aren’t a must.
Another example, there is no expectation that you to bring wine to a dinner party. They’ve got a whole bar full of drinks, alcohol, liquor, wine, anything you could ever imagine. But inside of yourself, you believe that you must and therefore you place this expectation on yourself.
That’s what I’m talking about.
When you look around right now during the holidays, and you’re out there, celebrating all of the things that you built this year, celebrating all the successes, you’re spending time with your work team, and you’re celebrating the team, enjoy it!
You’re also spending time celebrating with your personal team, your family, your friends, whomever, it’s this great time of year to enjoy people around you. Again, enjoy it!
When you believe a demand is coming at you, when you believe that there’s been an expectation placed upon you, I want you to look at the expectation and say, “Who’s placing this expectation?”
And if we’re doing it to ourselves, then we have to give ourselves some grace.
We’ve got to give ourselves the space to just show up, be in the moment, and to appreciate what other people are doing for us and want to do for us.
Many times we take an active role and we don’t let them serve us because we feel an obligation to go and serve others.
Part of grace is giving someone else the gift of supporting you.
Maybe you’re placing expectations on yourself, and it’s preventing other people from serving you.
So to quickly recap, yes we have competing demands in our lives. Before we point the finger at an external source, take a look at the internal source and let’s ensure we aren’t amplifying the expectations.
Give yourself grace and give others the opportunity to support you and love you just as much as you do them.
If you’re unsure of how to do that in your corporate career, schedule a call and let’s talk through it.