I’ve been thinking a lot about expectations lately. I really think that expectations have a greater importance than we realize. One thing that really fascinates me are those stories where you hear about some inner city school that has been turned around in some dramatic way. There have been so many variations of that story, but I think it has some basic components.
They start with a bunch of beaten-down kids that no one ever expects can accomplish anything. Then some leader comes in with a totally different idea than these kids have ever seen. He (or she) has a true belief that these kids can accomplish anything set before them.
Then with a little hard work and discipline, these kids totally kick it into gear and not only outperform their peers, they even outperform the so-called “good” kids.
There have been tons of movies about situations like this – Remember the Titans, Hoosiers, Lean on Me, Stand by Me, etc. No wonder, it’s a very inspiring story.
In some way, it’s kind of the American story. A bunch of religious rejects come over here in a boat, and 200 or so years later, we’re the most prosperous nation in the world. (Yes, even in this horrible recession, we are still the most prosperous nation, we’re just dragging behind by a bit!)
In this model, I think the expectations piece is the most important part of the puzzle. The leader has to have that rock-solid belief that the people under his command can accomplish something really wonderful, and he has to believe that strongly enough to make the group believe it too.
So who is the leader in your house? Well, when it comes to house cleaning, you are. Surprise! Right or wrong, the woman is nearly always the one who sets the tone for how the house is kept (or not!).
So, whether you think you applied for the position or not, you are the leader – yes you! So, what are your expectations?
Well, first let’s define what expectations are. Obviously, they are what you EXPECT. Not what you hope for or what you are wishing for, or what you are thinking about for the future. In a way they are your standards. They are literally what you will or will not stand for, both from yourself and from others.
So, what are your expectations for yourself? Will you stand for? Will you stand for living in a messy, cluttered house where you’re not happy? Or will you be that inspiring leader who expects more from yourself – and others?
Will it take hard work and discipline? Heck ya! But will you end up with something worthwhile in the end? Heck ya!
And what about your family – your kids and husband, if you have them? Do you hold them to a higher standard, or do you just figure that kids are kids, or that all men are just destined to be slobs?
If those are the expectations you have, how likely are these people going to live up to them? Hmmm.
But if you make up your mind that they are bright, capable people who could do a lot better with the right motivation, you might be on the way to having a house full of bright, capable people who might just help you out a bit more around the house.
It’s worth a try. Now go and watch some of those movies and get some good ideas – you leader you!