#61 - Expectations + When We Might Need to Check Them

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Expectations. We all have them, right?! When was the last time you did? Now, I want to ask, did they benefit you? Sometimes expectations and anticipating outcomes can be a good thing. They can drive us forward to a desired outcome. But, with certain achievement-driven personalities, expectations can backfire. 

In today's episode, I'm sharing a little snippet from a recent Facebook Live where I talk about an epiphany I had. I was grumpy about something. It was a recent thing that just hadn't been living up to the expectations that I'd had and I found myself wondering. Is there something wrong with that thing? Or is there something wrong with the expectations I had?

Contrast that to this past weekend that I spent out at my family cabin in the solitude of the Olympic peninsula of Washington. This little mini vacay had no plan. Even going to visit my friend nearby had no plan. And it was a damn near perfect 36 hours.

So, that leaves the question - do our expectations serve us? What's the consequence of having them? And when will it serve us to either change our expectations OR check them completely? To be featured on my stories, tag me when you listen @coachellyn on IG. And thank you for being a part of the Growth Tribe!


  • Achievement Oriented Personality types

  • How Being Achievement Oriented Can Make You Very Outcome + Expectation Focused

  • 2 Examples of Times When I Did + Did Not Have Expectations and How they played out

  • When we Should Change our Expectations + When We Should Check Them Completely

  • Questions to Ask Yourself About How Your Expectations Are Affecting Your Life

Resources in this episode:

Take the Enneagram and see if you’re an Enneagram type 3 like I am - click here

Book a transformation call here

Check out The Growth Tribe - a safe space for personal growth and leveling up your life - click here!


00:00 I want to talk about today is I had a, I had a grumpy moment this morning and then I had a little bit of an epiphany about said grumpy moment. I was stretching. So for those of you that don't know, I just posted some pictures on my Facebook and posted them on Instagram yesterday of a little mini vacation. I am super grateful and very blessed in our family. On my dad's side of the family. We had a cabin that is a couple hours from where I'm living that I can go hang out at, you know, I can go unplug, disconnect, get away. And it was glorious and so nice to go out there. But I kind of realized it was like the perfect 36 hours. Like it was amazing being out there. It was amazing being at the cabinet. It was amazing getting to go visit my friend over in Port Townsend.

00:56 It was just amazing. And what I really want to talk about today and the epiphany that I had this morning. I realized that so much of the things that I ended up being dissatisfied with versus the things that I ended up being just perfectly happy with has to do with the expectation that I come in to those situations with, you know, um, you know, whether it's a new job opportunity, a vacation, you know, dates, you know, so often I find myself a little bit of a dreamer and you know, I'm an enneagram 3, so I like achievement and I like, you know, outcomes that, you know, move me forward in my life. I like that and I like to think about and you know, kind of fantasize if you will, about what those outcomes might be. And you know, what would be the ideal in this situation?

01:45 And it serves me well a lot of the times, but then there's other times where it doesn't, and sometimes having those expectations of what the outcome will be can make the situation less enjoyable. So I really want to talk about that today. If you're that person who's very achievement oriented, very like wants the ideal outcome in any situation, this is for you. And I'm talking to you because the thing that I realized I needed to hear this morning, so I'm talking to myself as well. But what I really want you to think about today is thinking about a situation in your life where you went in and you had this grand expectation for how things were going to play out. Maybe it was a new job, you know, maybe it was you're going on a date. I'm not the only person that does this. I know I'm not going on a date.

02:33 And you've kind of got this grand expectation for how that date is going to turn out. Um, and maybe you go start the new job, go on the date. Maybe it's even you go on a vacation. Are you going to road trip or you go to hang out with a friend you haven't seen in awhile and you've got this expectation built up in your head about what's going to happen. And now I want you to ask yourself, how often does the situation meet your expectation? How often did that play out exactly as you wanted it to? You know, you, you went on a date and things went perfectly and he was as charming as you thought he was going to be and as handsome as you thought he was going to be an all that. Or you know, you start the new job and you hit the ground running and it's exactly what you expected and you're so happy that you made the decision to start this job. Or the vacation, you know, it was smooth getting to the airport.

03:27 You know, play it out. How often does the situation actually play out? The way you had it in your head, the way you're, you'd set up your expectation to be really freaking rarely, right? The expectations that we have very rarely play out the way we want them to and what's the ultimate result of that? And I'm grinning because I do this all the time. The ultimate result of that is often disappointment. It's dissatisfaction. It's being unhappy about the thing that we were so excited for because it didn't meet our expectations. Now I want to give to very explicit examples from my life of an example where I had no expectation and an example where I had all the expectation in the world and kind of my different perspectives on these two things. So let's start about the one where I had all the expectation in the world. I have been tutoring since mid March and I came into that position, so freaking excited.

04:36 I was just like, this is going to be my jam. Like this is going to be the perfect intersection of all of these super dichotomous parts of my life. I was so excited, I was so excited. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for me and I painted this picture in my head of the kind of students I was going to work with and the kind of interactions we were gonna have and you know, because naturally none of it was negative. It was all positive. It was all about how I was going to get some film it and satisfaction and build these great relationships and it was going to be this perfect intersection between coaching and my science background. I'd set this expectation and admittedly now three months in and I'm really, oh, I'm almost up to my 90 day mark with the company. That expectation is starting to hurt me because things aren't playing out that the way I thought they would.

05:28 Things aren't playing out quite the picture perfect way I imagined that they would in that new position and it's harming me. It's making me feel dissatisfied, unfulfilled, you know, unhappy with the situation. Now let's contrast that to--and these are kind of weird things to compare to each other, but I want you to just compare the what having an expectation did in both of these situations. This past weekend I went on this amazing little mini vacation out to our cabin and I had zero expectation. I was just like, I'm going to show up. I don't even know what I'm going to do. I've got some food with me. I've got some snacks with me. I'm probably going to head out to be my friend on Saturday, but otherwise I had no expectations. I had kind of a, it would be nice to do this. Looks like the weather's going to be nice on Saturday.

06:25 Maybe I'll go kayaking, maybe I'll go on a hike. It kind of was a blank slate of a weekend. It was kind of a, maybe I'll have a digital detox. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll plug, maybe I won't. They don't go on a hike. Maybe I won't. It was a complete blank slate. I really had no expectation.

06:42 Even for meeting up with my friend, you know? The only thing I really wanted was to see her, you know, how much time we spent together. I didn't really have an expectation for, I didn't really have a plan. They actually texted me as I was pulling into their town --her and her husband, you know--what's the plan? "We have xyz going on, so what's your plan?" And I didn't have one. I just wanted to show up and enjoy the town, see her, maybe grab a bite to eat if you have a beer, whatever. But I didn't have a plan and the last 36 hours that I spent on my little mini vacation, we're perfect.

07:25 It's hard if you're, you know like a personality type like I am, or you are somebody who is an achiever, very, you know, they're a planner. They liked to have a plan. Y'All know, I'm a planner. I like to have a plan. But sometimes changing the expectation or checking the expectation is going to serve us so much more than having the whole thing figured out. Having a whole picture in our head of how things are going to go.

07:55 I could've gone on my little mini vacation and been like, okay, so Friday night I'm going to do X, Y,Z , Saturday morning I'm going to go on this tight. And then when I get back from the hike, I'm going to go kayaking and then I'm gonna go drive out to port Townsend and see my friend and blah, blah, blah. It could be like that.

08:11 And then if things don't fit according to that timeline, what happens? Is it disappointment that I couldn't fit it all in the disappointment that I misread the tide tables and couldn't actually go kayaking when I thought I could, which I totally did. Oops! My bad. Um, but like what's, what's the outcome? Is there a disappointment that you couldn't fit everything in the way you thought you would?

08:35 That's what I'm talking about here and I'm realizing this morning that I wish I'd gone in to a number of things in my life with different expectations. You know, sometimes it's about changing the expectations. Sometimes it's not about, you know, getting this detailed picture and plan of how things are going to turn out. Sometimes it's just about going with the flow or just changing your expectation.

09:06 Maybe if I'd gone into tutoring with an expectation of so awesome, I'm going to bring in a little bit of, you know, side money, I'm going to get to get a feel for, do I like teaching? I'm going to get a feel for what I like teaching. And maybe those were the expectations. It's just a subtle tweak. You know? Maybe it's practicing, I don't even know, practicing like sales conversations because I do have to make recommendations to the families that I work with about how to continue our program. Maybe it's practicing that. Maybe it's figuring out, you know, honing in a little bit more on the type of person that I like to work with, whether it's in a teaching capacity or coaching capacity.

09:47 Maybe how we change our expectations in situations like a work experience. Maybe how we change the expectation is what can I learn from this and how can I grow from this? It's not necessarily setting the expectation of this is going to be the end all be all career that I do for the rest of my life and I'm perfectly happy with.

10:07 Maybe we change the expectation or on the contrary, maybe we go in with no expectation at all. For all my entrepreneurs out there, how many times have you gone into a launch or a new month or a new quarter and you've set all of these expectations for the kind of, you know, income goals. You're going to hit the number of people you're going to talk to and then at the end of that month or quarter, but really fricken disappointed when you haven't hit them, seemed like everything you didn't do or everything you did wasn't enough.

10:39 How many of us have done that? I 1000% I've done that and I know basically every entrepreneur out there has done that as well. What if instead we changed the expectation? What if we changed it to, hey, the things that we can control? Shocker. Right? What if we set expectations and outcomes and things we want to achieve around the ship that we could actually control and not over this grandiose thing that ultimately we may not have any control over? What if we changed the expectations there? What if we approached it differently or what if we didn't have any expectations at all?

11:17 What if we went into situations vacation without a plan, but if we went into dates instead of going in with it thinking, oh, this person is going to be like my soulmate, my perfect person. What if instead it's, we'll see. You know, maybe, maybe I'll learn what things I do like in a partner and what things I don't, maybe over what, you know, the day it's a complete disaster. Maybe it's, well I'll learn whether or not this new restaurant or this new pub is a good place to go.

11:48 Maybe if we went into things with the expectation of learning and growth as opposed to what can I achieve, which actually I would argue that learning and growth, our achievements, but so often we think of how can this turn into something that I have? How can this turn into a benchmark of success? And maybe that's not what it's about. What if we learned to check our expectations to just leave him at the door?

12:15 I think that's what's fun about doing lives and you know, ultimately then turning them into podcasts. If I kind of have to check the expectations at the door, I can't take this back what I've done, it's out there. You know, people have seen it. I've gotten some, some likes already. People have seen it. I can't take it back. You know, maybe it's learning and growing through that. And not having any sort of expectation that "this is going to be the best live, but I've ever done because I have this amazing can epiphany during my stretching this morning!" Checking that expectation, changing it the expectation when I do these lives, when I do these podcasts, when I share this stuff with you, I don't even know that I have one, but it's really just from the perspective of maybe this will resonate with someone. Maybe this will help somebody.

13:03 You can call that, you know, changed expectation or maybe you can call it having no expectations. But I think that's the point here is what if we went into all of these different parts of our life and stop thinking so much about what the outcome's going to be, what we can achieve, what have we learned to change the expectation around all of that? How would that change how we approach this situation? How would that change how satisfied we felt with that situation? Whether it's a romantic relationship, a job, a vacation, whatever.

13:37 What if we learn to change our expectations or better yet what would happen if we have none? I want you to start asking yourself those questions. I think they're important questions to ask.

13:55 Because so many of us, all of us achievers, that's Enneagram type threes, and if you don't know what the Enneagram is, let me know and I could hook you up. I'll actually link it in the show notes of this podcast when it goes live. But for all of us out there who are so achievement oriented, so outcome driven, so success focused, sometimes you got to learn for our own happiness, for our own sanity, for own satisfaction, to change the expectations, to change them to things that we have control over to things that we can just constantly focus on learning and growing from as opposed to things that we can add to your resume or list of accomplishments. What if we change our expectations? What if we had none whatsoever? How would that change? How would that level of your happiness and your fulfillment in your life? I want you to ask yourself these things cause I think they're are really, really important questions to ask.

14:50 That's all I've got for you guys today. I hope you have are having an awesome Sunday morning and I hope that you can mull over these questions and figure out some ways to apply them to your life. Because I had a hell of a journaling session off of this this morning and I'm really interested in this and how it change my perspective on some of these different things in my life. So I want to share that with you guys. I hope that was insightful, helpful for you. Um, and once again, happy Sunday and I'll talk to y'all later. Bye.

Ellyn SchinkeComment