Managing Expectations

Do this, and you’ll be way ahead in the game of life

Managing Expectations
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Do this, and you’ll be way ahead in the game of life

I remind my family all the time to manage their expectations. Whether it’s a new job, new boyfriend, or new conspiracy theory.

Manage your expectations.

Here’s why: Once, I accepted a new job in East Tennessee. Now, East Tennessee is beautiful and sometimes I miss living there. I even learned how to speak a little Tennessean during my time there. But I grew up in South Alabama and was unaccustomed to any geographical feature higher than 10 feet.

Or mountains.

The closest I’d gotten to hills in South Alabama was the Ferris Wheel at the Mobile County Fair.

I was the new preacher at a little church in a little community near Chattanooga. I was probably 26 or so.

I was single and the very definition of insecurity and doubting my choice to have moved so far north into Yankee territory. But all my insecurities and expectations were put at ease one Sunday morning after services not long after I had begun my journey.

A little lady was speaking to me.

Yes, that little old lady. She was a retired teacher, prim, proper, and she knew how to spell and such.

Anyway, she stopped me at the door and felt called by someone, not sure whom, to share the story of the church’s recent decision about who to hire.

She begins: “There were two men that we were considering hiring for the job.”

‘Oh,’ I said, barely interested.

‘Another guy and me?’

We were the candidates for the preaching job at this little church in this little community.

Because there was no real leadership in that little church, it became a sort of sloppy democracy. The other guy and me running for office.

I bent down closer to listen to her report the news of the election. An election that I had obviously won.

So, I was somewhat smug because, well, I was there and he wasn’t.

She smiled and whispered, “I voted for the other guy.”

And ...... BAM!

Things started looking up.

At that moment, I wondered if the other guy was still interested because I suddenly wasn’t.

Whatever smugness, or even confidence, I had accumulated since I had been there dissipated in an instant into the mountain midsts of East Tennessee.

But, I did learn that one doesn't need to see every potential experience as terrible or great.

Take it as it comes.

Manage expectations. There'll be bad days and good days but most of the time, there will be just days.

I didn’t let her snide comment bother me. I kept learning the job and doing what was necessary, which may have included punching her. I really don’t remember.

My mother often recited to me the Serenity Prayer (even when I didn't ask), which is a quick reminder that we can only change things over which we have control. I didn’t have control over that little old lady’s attitude. But I did have control over my attitude and actions.

If we can just learn that, and manage expectations, we’ll all be ahead of the game.