In this webinar, I talk about habits, expectations, fantasy and reality.
I’ve broken this webinar recording into two parts:
- Part I – My Talk: Expectations and reality (See notes)
- Part II – Questions & Answers: I answered some really great questions from some amazing people, please watch!
Part I: Leo’s Talk (with notes)
I was talking with a coaching client recently, and they talked about the discouragement of not making as much progress as they were hoping. They were making progress, but not even close to what their expectations were.
This is the difficulty with expectations – we all have them, they just happen in the background. But we rarely meet them â€” and so we get:
Beat ourselves up.
Hate the process.
Lose confidence in ourselves.
These are the pitfalls of expectations.
So what are expectations and where do they come from?
Expectations are simply a fantasy that the mind comes up with when it enters a situation, because itâ€™s a way to feel that things are under control. Any new habit change, project, event, relationship â€¦ it is filled with uncertainty. We donâ€™t know how to handle that uncertainty â€” and so we seek ways to control the situation.
A fantasy for how it will work out â€” our expectations of ourselves and others â€” is a way to feel control of an uncontrollable situation.
Unfortunately, the fantasy rarely matches with reality. And so we get frustrated, disappointed, discouraged, etc etc
Whatâ€™s another possibility?
Practicing with what is. Reality, just as it is.
Notice in this moment what reality is like â€” how you feel, what the room is like, what the experience of this webinar is like. Itâ€™s not good or bad, itâ€™s just what is.
Some examples of working with what is:
- I want to exercise, because Iâ€™ve found that in reality, in my experience, when I exercise my body feels good. When I exercise, I feel healthier over the long term. I feel vitality. So there isnâ€™t an expectation, thereâ€™s just what Iâ€™ve learned exercise actually does.
- Then I start the exercise, dropping my expectations, and just practice noticing how it feels in the moment. Itâ€™s not good or bad, itâ€™s just the experience of this particular workout. I might find things to appreciate about it. I might find curiosity. Or joy. Or not. It doesnâ€™t matter, because itâ€™s just how it is.
- Maybe I am trying to meditate every day, because Iâ€™ve found that in reality, when I meditate, it helps me feel less stressed. Not some fantasy about being Zen or blissful, but just an experience of having more space and a little less stress.
- But I miss a couple of days of meditation â€” I notice that I had an expectation that I not miss a day, and that I feel disappointment in myself. Thatâ€™s what is. I can drop the expectation and just be with the bodily feeling of disappointment â€” it doesnâ€™t need to change.
- Then I can simply meditate the next day, without worrying about whether I met my expectation of meditation or not.
- When I do meditate, I might notice that i had an expectation that I not be constantly thinking. The reality is that I was constantly thinking, in this meditation â€” I can just accept this reality, and let that be the meditation.
There is no way that things need to be, other than how they are. That includes having expectations. That includes the reality of being disappointed or frustrated. It includes the reality of missing a day or two, or wanting to give up. It includes the reality of the workout not going as well as weâ€™d like, or the meditation being filled with thoughts and distractions.
When we open up to reality in this way, thereâ€™s no other way it needs to be. We can just keep going. And even find gratitude for the way things are.
Watch above, or here on Vimeo.
Part II: Questions and Answers
Watch above, or here on Vimeo.