Defining Expectations

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Defining Expectations

Expectation: anticipation or the strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future

We all have it, don’t we? Expectation; anticipation. Thanksgiving is imminent and we have a huge expectation that the meal will be delicious, everyone will get along, and that the weather will cooperate (especially for those of us that fry a turkey outdoors). Why is there so much hype in our expectations of others and in life?

My wedding anniversary is today. It has me thinking of that special day. I remember it well. I love this time of year:  the leaves changing, the chill in the air that makes for such beautiful crisp days. Oh how I had such expectation for that new beginning on this day! I thought the wedding was the most important thing. I thought if it rained it would ruin our day. It didn’t rain by the way, and our day was memorable. Just this week I was thinking how my husband has really exceeded my expectations. I am not sure what I was expecting 26 years ago. My expectation was more of the day, honestly speaking. I expected he would be an honest man (and he is), that we would create a life worth living and be proud of (which we have), though had no idea our life together would’ve exceeded my expectations. Why is that? Marriage is so much more than the wedding and that one day. It is what you do between that day and your happily ever after that really counts.

How do we make it count? Well, for starters we need to understand what expectation is and how it compares to reality. Your marriage may start off as a fairy tale but then just as quickly as someone gets sick or leaves the cap off the toothpaste, your expectation falls, reality sets in, and you argue because someone didn’t meet your expectation. Is your expectation too high in someone? Maybe your coworker or your boss? A family member, friend or significant other?? Hmm…

Humans make mistakes. We come up short. Therefore I have decided to put my expectation in things I might have a little control over like the menu for Thanksgiving. I don’t have control over the weather or whether or not guests will like the food choices, but I can put the expectation on myself rising to the occasion of not “sweating the small stuff” so to speak. Expectation is such a fancy word if you stop and say it out loud. When we put that fancy word out there it just sets us up to fail or come up short. We expect more than we give, focusing on the “could’ve, would’ve and should’ve.”

However, quite possibly once or twice in your life (more if you are lucky) you may have an occasion, a meal, or a day that ultimately exceeds your expectation in every way, shape, or form. I hope when that happens you will stop and take it all in and make a mental note of just how special it was, realizing you didn’t really expect it after all.


Shelly Henderson
Shelly Henderson
Shelly calls herself a “Charlottean” because her family has been there since her elementary school days. She serves as Henderson Properties’ co-founder, along with her husband Phil, managing the day-to-day operations, social media branding and leadership development. She is proud of her athletic accomplishments in golf both at the collegiate level at Appalachian State and for a short stint on the LPGA Futures Tour. Her different life experiences, both positive and challenging, earned the title to her first book Starting From Scratch. Shelly has a servant’s heart and leads her company with purpose and passion. She is mom to two sons who continue as young adults to make her heart swell.