Tag Archives: Expectations

Motivation Mondays: Stop Trying to Control Everyone!

This past week, I celebrated by 24th birthday. I am blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. The amount of birthday wishes I received along with cards and phone calls was overwhelming. I also got to spend time with some of my favorite people. Overall, ringing in 24 was a huge success.

Every year around my birthday, I think about how I want this next year to be different from the last. What areas of personal growth do I want to focus on? How can I step up my game at work? I usually get overambitious and write a list of goals for myself. But this year there’s one thing I need to focus on: assuming everyone thinks like I do.

I’ve talked about the comparison trap, managing exceptions and professional F.O.M.O. before. But as I was planning out each piece of my week-long birthday celebration, this idea occurred to me. Not everyone operates like I do. No two people think the exact same thing about a situation. I’ve assumed the people close to me think along the same lines as me. But just because we’re close doesn’t mean we have the same opinion on birthday celebrations, politics or anything else. Diverse perspectives are what makes the world go around!

ThinkingMy consistent issue is that I assume people (mostly in my personal life) have the same values/intentions/beliefs that I do. I expect my family and friends to fall in line with my thinking. News flash Alex, the world doesn’t revolve around you. Sometimes it’s really hard when people don’t prioritize the way you do. It can be frustrating, overwhelming, upsetting and downright disappointing. But you live, you learn and begin to understand why that person might feel that way. Easier said then done most of the time.

Yesterday, I attended a brunch held by Temple Women’s Network, where their keynote speaker Yasmine Mustafa, a Temple alum, told a story about biking Death Road in Bolivia. Named appropriately, this path is along a steep mountain with a variety of twists and turns that would cause the most adventurous individual to become skeptical. Yasmine said once she “let go” and stopped trying to control the bike, she was in less pain. She moved along the mountain with more ease and less fear. She made a perfect analogy for life: once you stop trying to control everything and everyone, life become a lot less painful. JUST. THE. MESSAGE. I. NEEDED. TO. HEAR!

So my goal for year 24 is to stop controlling how everyone in my inner circle thinks. I can’t make everyone see things my way nor do I really, truly want to. Am I still going to do things I want to do? Absolutely! But I’m not going to expect others to follow suit or to prioritize the way I do. Do you struggle with expectations and wanting others to think like you do? Share your thoughts below!

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Family Fridays: Heaven Must Have Sent You

April is an action-packed month meaning there’s a bunch of very important birthdays. If you stopped by the blog yesterday, you heard about my friendship with Trish who celebrated her birthday yesterday. Today is another very important Aries’ birthday…

There’s no one quite like my mom. If you’ve been lucky enough to have met her, you’ll completely understand what I’m saying. She has these little whit-isms, snippets of advice, if you will that make total sense but also make you crack up. For example:

“Some days you’re the bat. Some days you’re the ball.”

momThink about it. It makes complete sense but you absolutely smiled while reading it. There’s more than just these pieces of advice too. She’s an NYU graduate, put herself through college while working, raised  two kids and is an executive director at Morgan Stanley. She makes jokes about everyone, including herself. She raised me on 70’s Disco, The Beatles, Mariah Carey’s 1’s CD and TLC, among many others. She works very hard but also knows how to enjoy life. She listens to all my crazy stories, gives sound advice and is the best cook I’ve ever met. She’s my mom so you’d assume I’m a little biased, right?

Ok, I probably am biased. But not entirely. My mom is tough in every sense of the word. Tough meaning her expectations for everyone including herself are exceptionally high. Tough meaning she’s good at hiding how she really feels. Tough meaning she can take on the world but demands we all do the same. At a point in time, I didn’t see any of this or understand it. It took years,  going away to college and several screaming matches for me to realize I’m lucky to have the mom I do.

We never used to get along the way we do now. Trust me, there’s still moments when I wonder what inmom2 the name of all things holy is she thinking. Guaranteed she thinks the same thing about me. We figured it  out despite our differences. Our personalities are not exactly alike though there are some similarities: how we cook and host parties, the music we like, how hard we work and how passionate we are. There’s a bunch of differences too: I’m more OCD, she’s more focused, I’m more emotional and she’s better with money and numbers. We’re certainly not the same person, but the important traits have stuck. When I say I got it from my mama, I’m not lying.

In 22.5 years, my relationship with my mom has grown and changed over and over again. She is my role model, the reason why I believe I can do both, the career and the family. We don’t get it right every day or even every other day. But, we try to learn from each other. I’m so lucky to have her as my mom  and can’t wait to celebrate her birthday tonight! The song that inspired this post’s title is below.

Hero Material

I’m not giving up on this Truth Challenge! There’s just been so many other things I’ve wanted to discuss! That being said, let’s keep it moving on to Day 14.

Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)

I won’t give you a detailed list of all the people I consider heroes. Lucky for me, the list of people who inspire me is long and constantly changes. My parents, family members, friends, professors and colleagues can, at times, be considered my heroes. I admire my parents’ ability to raise their kids together despite getting divorced. My friends inspire me every day with their ability to overcome adversity and walk to the beat of their own drum. My current colleagues are truly heroes for how they’re mentoring me while working on multiple projects and raising their own kids.

I am a believer in everyday heroes, ordinary people who do the extraordinary. Sure, there are some celebrities that could be considered heroes. For me, it’s people like Ellen DeGeneres and Cory Booker, who stay true to themselves and are always looking for ways to help others. That’s how I define my heroes: people who stay true to themselves, who believe in paying it forward and who are passionate about what they do. I know it doesn’t sound too remarkable, but to me it is.

The one thing about heroes is that sometimes they have no idea how much other people value them and their opinions. When you consider someone your hero, you value their opinion and almost hang on every word they say. They have been placed on a pedestal without even knowing it. If you put someone that high up, they only way they can go is down. It sets everyone up for failure. With heroes, be transparent and talk to them about why you place them in such a category. Managing expectations is very important and will create a mutually beneficial relationship.

Who are your heroes? Why do you consider them heroes? Please share with me!

Family Fridays: The F Word

Again, my apologies for the lack of posts this week. I was in Chicago for work and just didn’t have enough time. Expect a few posts about my time in Chicago next week! I decided to combine my Family Friday post with the 30 Days of Truth Challenge. Today’s prompts are:

Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

For me, the word forgiveness is the ultimate “F” word. It has never been easy for me to forgive people and let things go. Looking around, it isn’t all that easy for my family members or friends. In my opinion, the problem lies in expectations. Most of the people in my life have high even unrealistic expectations for one another. When that’s the case, the only way to go is down.

I must forgive myself for having high expectations. Too often, I set up these insanely high expectations for people and place them on a pedestal. When you regard someone so highly, the only way they can go is down. Within the last year, most of the people in my life have disappointed me and not met my expectations…because what I expected was just too much. I learned that building people up will only cause them to eventually fall down. I need to forgive myself for being unrealistic and in some instances, letting myself get SO caught up in that disappointment that I ruined a relationship. This is yet another example of a part of my life that needs more balance.

There’s a pretty long list of people I need to forgive. Instead of naming names (which would become a giant headache), I’ll give you a general example. As my good friend Niki pointed out in her blog today, I tend to put everyone else’s happiness before my own. Like I’ve said before, I really enjoy helping and investing in people. Sometimes, people take advantage of that. To those people, I forgive you for walking all over me and for taking advantage. That being said, I wouldn’t ever change what I did for those people. I just wish the relationship had been more mutually beneficial.

It’s especially hard for me to strike a balance of expectations and selflessness with my family. These are the people who are most important to me, so naturally I’d do anything for them. Over time, I’ve learned that family lets you down and expecting nothing will ultimately lead to less disappointment. It’s been hard for me to accept that certain members won’t rise to the occasion or sacrifice for me. True, you don’t do things to be repaid. But, it’s nice sometimes for others to go out of their way for you when you have for them.

I tend to forgive but never really do forget things that happened. Add this to the list of goals I have for 2013: to let more things go, especially insignificant occurrences. As cliché as it is, life is simply too short.

Is there anyone you need to forgive? Have expectations played a role in your personal relationships? Please share!

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