The Problem With Having Expectations

I’m learning to recognize when my mind is telling me a story. These stories are often self-limiting and have lots of [ridiculous] expectations. Rooted in some mixture of my past, but definitely NOT my reality.

It’s so interesting how these kinds of stories stay with us. Recently, I interviewed a guest for an upcoming episode on the podcast. As I was researching her, I was jotting down a few additional Q’s tailored to her. I was [unconsciously] laying out a plan, a set of expectations, for how I wanted the interview to go. I didn’t realize how tightly I was gripping onto this little plan of mine, until my guest rocked the boat.

Months back when I had booked her for this interview I had sent some general questions, with the intention of showcasing themes of topics we would discuss. She had never done a podcast interview before, so she had gone ahead and invested a lot of time to prepare her answers, thoughtfully writing out her responses.

I should back up and say that I totally understand that being interviewed is scary – especially if you’ve never done it before! My number one priority is to always make my guests feel comfortable. And even though I know that they will do a great job, it’s not until THEY walk through the discomfort and begin to see they are capable & already know all the answers – that they finally begin to relax🙌🏽✨

And as an interviewer, I always try my best to go into all of my podcast interviews with an open mind, because the best conversations unfold organically. Of course I do put together questions beforehand, but they act more as general guidelines, because I’m OK with the conversation taking on a life of its own.

So this particular guest really didn’t want to let go of the answers that she’d prepared. Upon hearing this, I found myself SO frustrated for several reasons: One. I felt frustrated with myself for not explaining the style of my podcast more affectively. Two. I felt frustrated with the idea that the conversation would feel rehearsed (again this is the story and the expectations talking). Three. I felt frustrated that I was facing this dilemma and wasn’t sure how I was going to get her to see my point of view.

Yes all of these thoughts raced in my mind over the span of about 10 seconds. And as I was still talking to her, and simultaneously trying to process how I was going to navigate this. Which leads me to red flag number one: I was already checked out and I wasn’t fully present and capable of listening to her because the storyline was already queued up in my head.

The tone of my voice felt defensive even to my own ears as I tried to explain to her “that it should just feel like a natural conversation”. Which leads me to red flag number two: the word “should”. Nothing should be anything, it will just be whatever it is.

Red flag number three: I was focused on getting her to see my point of view. Very ME focused, where I am the protagonist in my story and everything should go according to MY plan (insert palm to face emoji here).

But then part of me came back to the present moment and I could hear the pleading of her voice, I softened because I recognized this feeling of uncertainty. I began to put myself in her shoes and recognized that she must have put a lot of effort into those answers. She just wanted to feel like she could share her story effectively and with confidence. Even though I knew she would be great without the safety net of her written answers, she wasn’t there yet and I had to recognize this and practice patience, to allow her to get there on her own – which she did. I could tell later on in the podcast the point at which she “let go” of her notes, began to trust herself, and allowed the conversation to beautifully unfolded.

I learned that having expectations creates disconnect. Having preconceived notions causes me to be more stubborn and less willing to meet someone where they are at. I first had to catch the story, see it for what it was, and recognize that by gripping onto it – I would be jeopardizing the magic of the conversation.

 

I would love to hear about an experience you have had with this!  Have you ever noticed your mind telling you a story about a situation that you realized wasn’t true? How did it play out?

 

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