Many people frequently use the words expectation and aspiration interchangeably. However, the meanings are not the same.
I found this definition of expectation on the internet: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
Imagine setting the expectation of making a 20% profit on every project for the next year. You probably have good reason to believe confidently that this will occur. What will happen if it does not occur exactly as you expect and you have based all decisions around this expected outcome?
For example, you purchased new equipment, hired more people and broke ground on an office expansion. An expectation is a foregone conclusion that something will happen. Hard work does not guarantee success in meeting your expectation.
Then there are people expectations. Can you relate to these expectations that your spouse remembers your anniversary, your children make the dean’s list, your colleagues meet deadlines and your customers are loyal?
Contrast expectations to aspirations. I found this definition aspiration on the internet: a hope or ambition of achieving something or the object of an ambition; a goal, ambition, desire, or wish. Unmet expectations can create disappointment or worse. Aspirations can inspire or provide the incentive to keep going.
To me, expectations imply boundaries and limitations. Aspirations feel expansive, creative and flexible. It is easier to keep going in the direction of aspirations even when they are not achieved exactly as imagined. Expectations are met or not met. For my mastermind partner, unmet expectations elevate her stress level. Who wants that?
William Shakespeare said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” Are you working from a place of expectations or aspirations? Expectations come with no guarantee despite hard work. Aspirations make no guarantees either. Use aspirations to inspire you to keep going to achieve a worthy goal.
© 2013 Ann Elliott All Rights Reserved