Stand Tall, Climb High

I was finishing my run in Forest Park today, trying to glean some inspiration, some elusive lesson from the super-tall tree varieties we have here in Portland. I guess the concept of reaching expectations was floating on the surface of my contemplation and I immediately was convinced there might be an obvious metaphor the trees were hoping I’d find.

Shoot for the stars? Reach for the sky? Don’t hang out here during a lightning storm?! Nope. I mean, I’m not above a fun cliche, but this wasn’t the message today. I’ve been revisiting just how powerful the concept of setting expectations can be. In some way it seems pretty true that what we envision in our lives we will find in one form or another. And I don’t mean this in an I-just-watched-The Secret-now-I’m-going-to-manifest-a-one-hundred-dollar-bill-on-the-sidewalk type of expectation, but more energetically pervasive, more core. Like the power our most persistent belief systems have over us (I’m not qualified for _____, I’m bad with confrontation, or the classic I only attract _____women/men). Henry Ford once said simply, ‘whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.’

So, I am taking an honest hard look at the expectations I have of myself and for myself, since this is the part of the universe over which I probably have the most direct influence. I notice myself wanting to get into prediction mode, a sort of fantastical hope for positive outcomes of events around me (I will get the raise I hope for, this really important staff meeting will go perfectly, my partner will understand me perfectly without any conflict). No, that’s not the type of expectations I’d like to work on, that’s just a bypass from reality.

So what expectations can we influence? This is our own work to discover, in our own way. And I believe that the more we can cultivate expectations related to the essence of who we are and what we want internally, the more we can grow strongly in that direction.