Be Careful of Your Words: They Create Expectations . . .

Good morning  —

Today’s thoughts focus on the idea of self-created expectations.  As we approach the holidays, we are all too familiar with the difference between expectations and reality because of advertising.  Advertising sets the tone to lead our expectations. HOWEVER, as many of us may find, what a company says in their advertising may not be the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Yet, our expectations are created in the moment nonetheless, leaving the customer to decide how close to the truth a company needs to be regarding a potential purchase (or not).

We understand these expectations in this context. However, we often struggle with creating our own–whether unintentional or not–begging the question, how far can we be trusted to fulfill our own self-created expectations?

Think of the conversation:  “I’ll take care of it.”  These simple words create a simple expectation that whatever ‘it’ may be–will be attended to and addressed.  The question is will it? Really?

It has been my experience that “I’ll take care of it,” is often the same as the automatic response to “How are you?” “Fine. How are you?” where the listener doesn’t often even stick around to hear the answer to find out.

When I lived in Japan, I actually had to retrain myself because when someone asked me how I was, they (a) actually wanted to know and (b) stayed around to hear my reply.  For many if not most in the United States, the answer is a drive by as one walks down the hallway out of sight with our words trailing in the air to no one in particular.

The question for us is to ask is why? Why do we not care enough to hear the answer?  BUT then why do we most certainly care when someone doesn’t meet their own self-created expectations? Double standards?

They said they would call.  They never did.

They said they would take care of it.  They didn’t.

Was it as simple as a euphemism in conversation where the person never intended to do what they said in the first place? It is easier to promise to do something than to deal with an uncomfortable potential conflict.  So lying is better?

Let me offer a simple solution.  If you aren’t going to do it; don’t say it. Enough said.  Let’s simply not create the expectation in the first place.  No promises; no disappointments. Easy peasy.

Something for us to think about . . .

Dr. Cheryl Lentz
The Academic Entrepreneur

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December 7th, 2018 by admin