Tip of the Week
Insurance Against Mediocrity
What is Guilt: A feeling of responsibility or remorse for some
offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined. Guilt is
hooked to the past.
Expectation: Looking forward to a specific outcome, whether feared or hoped for. Expectations are formed
by past experience as a prediction of future results.
Important: With expectations, we naturally focus on a definite idea of how things ‘should’ be and the
anticipated results that fall out from that. This orientation captures our attention and ties results to
assumptions and preconceptions. Often reality fails to meet
The Problem: Too many people live
in a state of conflict: Other People’s Values (expectations) vs.
Their OWN Values
(standards). A few examples of conflict:
Spending money on yourself when others expect your charity, generosity, abstinence,
Spending time on yourself when other expect sacrifice, service, help,
Saying 'no' when others expect you to say 'yes'
Needing help to satisfy personal needs--even basic ones like food, love, attention,
respect--when others expect you to be a bootstrapper
Behaving contrary to the expectations of others sets you up for feeling guilty unless you
understand the distinction between expectations and standards.
What is a
you willingly choose to hold yourself to. Standards are more likely to consider present values, truths, skills, and
The distinction in a
Tip #1: Release Guilt
Remember who is in charge of your life—You. You
will ultimately carve the words written on your tombstone. Will it read:
Here rests a person who
did something important
Here rests a person who
could havedone something, if
only so-and-so thought it worthy.
Where are all these expectations coming from, and when did you accept
them? Think of a 1 or 2 missed expectations and ask these
Why was I expected to do it?
What was the payoff to the other
Does the expectation consider my present circumstances and
Perhaps you'll find that you're feeling
guilty over something selfishly and unreasonably expected by another person.
#2: Prevent Future Guilt
Delete the strivers from your relationships. People who
strive can be exciting and fun to be around, but they cost you dearly. Strivers drain your energy away because they need you to encourage them; they need you to agree
with them, they need you to keep up with them, etc.
1. Scan your friends for strivers. Pick 1 or 2 that seem the most driven to perform or to appear a certain way in the eyes of
2. Remember a time
in which you failed to meet this person’s expectation. Try to recall the
circumstances and as many details about the expected action, result, and feedback you received from this
3. Make a list of 5
to 10 things that were/are good about missing! What did you learn and how
can you incorporate your wisdom into a standard that will guide your actions in the
4. The next time
you feel motivated by this person, ask yourself whether the action is because of an expected result or whether your
action is spurred by a standard you have. Check the distinction snapshot
again if you’re not sure what I mean.
Awareness increases as you learn/practice the skill of
Develop a new set of standards that are really useful to
Recognize the benefits and drawbacks of following
strivers and give yourself conscious control--choice
Orient yourself around opportunities. Opportunities
are in the present, guilt is in the past, and expectations are in the future.
Free up time
for people and projects with real value vs. potential value and no real
Caution! Sabotage Alert!
Watch for any standard that becomes an
expectation. Remember that as perfect humans, we are imperfect—we
make mistakes. Make sure your standards don’t turn into self-sabotaging
Article: Genuine Curiosity, Give Your Mother a Break, Mrs. Michael's Mommy, Guilt, Expectations, and Standards
Tip: Ignore List, Peer Pressure, Accept vs. Agree, Rush