Last week, we touched on the topic of new beginnings and change, since it seems it really is the only constant these days. With MBA orientations and classes getting underway, and application deadlines creeping ever so much closer by the week – not to mention a major natural event to behold this week – we’re all about transition at the moment.
Change forces you to look ahead, which makes sense. You gotta have some idea of where you’re headed, for sure. But, that makes it kind of extra hard to stay present. Thinking about the future also entices you to draft up expectations for it. “That’s my intention,” becomes “that’s the plan,” which quickly morphs into “that’s what’s going to happen.” Once that occurs, it’s a perfect opportunity for autopilot to take over. You put your attention on cruise control and act like you’re one step ahead of where you are. Confidence = high. Presence = low.
The other thing about expectations is that, whether they’re the best or the worst, they make us comfortable. Believing that you know what’s going to happen makes you feel in control, and you know us humans – we do like the illusion of control.
We like it so much, we don’t want to let it go. The more uncertain the transition we’re in the midst of, the more likely we are to cling to our expectations of what’s coming. This practice can be kind of fun – even exciting, if your expectations are of the dreams-come-true variety – but can become an issue when they 1) check you out of the moment you’re actually in, and 2) don’t actually come to fruition. ‘Cause there is nothing to throw a storm cloud full of rain on your parade like expectations gone awry.
And not to sound like your auntie or anything, buuuut….who’s fault is that?
Ouch, I know. But don’t worry, it just means you’re human. You can make the choice, however, to be as engaged and present a human as possible, though. Or, to at least make that your intention.
Plan, envision, and by all means, dream. Do all of these things on purpose, and with all of your focus, when you intend to do so. When those plans and dreams begin to unfold in real time, show up for them and pay attention. As you do, if they bring with them the unexpected, stay present, and ride the wave.
Try not to be attached to what you thought was going to happen. Be fully connected to what actually is. It takes courage to manage your way through change, but the rewards of growth, opportunity and even some fulfillment await those who do.
Photo credit: Jonatan Pie