A few weeks ago my husband, Ricky, and I attended a marriage conference. After thirty years, we’re wise enough to know we don’t have all the answers. And we were smart enough to listen when a particular question was asked. Sometimes a little thing houses big results.
But as I reflect back on how powerful this question is for our marriage, I also realize it houses the same potential for writing. So here’s the question in question.
Immediately intrigued, Ricky and I leaned in to hear more.
“That word is expectation.” Keith spread his arms fluidly as he shared a knowing glance with his wife, who stood demurely at his side on the stage. Then he threw another thought-provoking question our way. “Why do you expect your spouse to do certain things?”
Ricky and I exchanged our own insider’s look — and a smile.
Craft continued, “If I expect you to do something, and you do it, I tend to be ungrateful.” He took a step forward, “If you don’t do what I expect, I tend to become frustrated, angry, and disappointed. Ingratitude and disappointment are root issues in many marriages.”
My mind reviewed quick sound-bytes of past arguments. And I had to agree. Most if not all on my end, originated as a result of my own expectations. Expectations by the way, that I hadn’t shared with my husband.
Then I thought over many conflicts I’d had at work, with friends, and with other family members. Sure enough, I could track the majority to my unreasonable expectations.
- I either didn’t show appreciation when someone met my expectations.
- Or I became frustrated when they did not.
So how does this information help me in writing?
Now that I’ve become aware of my propensity to make unreasonable, unspoken expectations of others, I realize I place them on myself as well.
- I expect myself to write a perfect draft the first time — not accepting reality that everyone’s first is probably shoddy.
- Every day I expect words to flow from my mind through my fingertips — not allowing for emotional and physical hindrances.
- Comparing myself to others, I expect similar results to their successes — and when I don’t get them, I am hurt and disappointed.
- When I do perform to my own expected level, I fail to appreciate and celebrate it fully — after all, shouldn’t I do this every time?
Since the conference, Ricky and I have pondered and discussed our expectations. Probably me more than him, but gender differences are a whole other subject. I can tell you this, since the power of expectations has come to my attention, I’ve worked to realign my thinking, and even more importantly, to refuse frustration as a tool of the writing trade. I’m also learning to celebrate little things, instead of taking them for granted as no big deal, because it’s what I should do anyway.
In our marriage, my husband and I have seen immediate results, and I expect even greater rewards in the future. (As I’m sure you noticed, there I go expecting again.)
However, I’m also translating my new mindset to writing. I still expect good things, but have changed how I react.
- I forgive myself when I fail to meet self-induced expectations, then simply pick up and try again.
- I celebrate when I meet expectations, knowing it doesn’t always turn out this way.
This is my new approach, and so far, I’m a healthier, happier writer — expecting to deliver more projects soon.
What do you expect from your writing?
Anita Fresh Faith
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Expert, Certified Training Facilitator, Communications Specialist, and national speaker. Anita is also the author of, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market. Now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Lifeway, Christianbook.com, select Walmart’s, plus many fine stores, Christian and otherwise.
She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business coaching firm. Member of the Christian Writer’s Guild, Toastmasters, and a client of WordServe Literary Group. A graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries. Anita co-hosts a weekly podcast, Engaging Life and Leadership with Darren Dake, available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms.
Anita is passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.
Her favorite past time is lounging by a river or lake in Missouri, laughing with with her husband of thirty years, Ricky.