When you wake up in the morning you have an expectation or intention for your day. Your expectations and intentions are the first choice you make that begins to separate mediocrity from extraordinary. What are your intentions or expectations for the day ahead? I've asked individuals and groups, large and small, this question over the past two decades and the overwhelming number one answer is, “I want to have a good day”. When I ask people to define a good day, the definition is, “A day with little to no problems or hassles”. When I ask them how many days a year this intention or expectation is met, they usually answer, “None”. Yet, they wake up each day and repeat this behavior without changing their expectation or intention. The vast majority of people start each day with an unrealistic expectation or intention, that when not fulfilled, makes them frustrated, upset and unhappy. When we set expectations that aren't met, we are usually disappointed.
Managing your own intentions and expectations drives your daily emotions and state-of-mind. People who become mediocre focus on their circumstances and not their solutions. This makes their circumstances the driver of their emotions. This puts their emotions, or state-of-mind on a roller coaster ride of peaks and valleys that sabotages their ability to create the results or life they want.
First, let’s look at why people set an intention or expectation of no problems, no hassles and no worries, and defined this as a good day. When we wake up each day we have a choice to make, “Better or Comfortable”. Our human nature seeks comfort before improvement and is satisfied to be comfortable. We don't want to be average but have to choose to do things we don't want to do if we want to be extraordinary. We don’t wake up each day driven to be better human beings or to make things in our life better. So, the challenge is how to overcome our human nature and stop sabotaging our own lives.
When we define a good day as no problems, no hassles and no adversity and then meet the first problem of the day, how do we react? If you said, “Frustrated” you'd be right. Your expectation or intention has set you up to be frustrated. Not the best state-of–mind to handle life or work problems. This pattern of behavior begins a downward spiral of poor emotions. These emotions make you less capable of handling the next problem. Maintaining this emotional cycle may even make you avoid, withdraw or quit trying to overcome the obstacles in your day. The end result of this is mediocrity, at best.
How can you change your expectations or intentions to change your results? Remember, "Everyday the choices you make, make you". When you start your day, change your expectation or intention by changing your definition of a good day. Let’s revisit the idea or definition of a good day. If your choice is comfort you define it as “no problems”. Think about when you feel best about yourself. Your self-worth or self-esteem is best when you overcome adversity, solve problems and help others. So to change your results, to develop the emotional state-of-mind to make a difference in your life, you need a new definition of a good day.
This new definition can help you make a better first choice as you wake up each day. Define a good day as one where you find, meet and overcome problems and adversity. Yes, you need to wake each day looking for problems. Problems to solve that will help people. Just a note...You shouldn't be looking to make problems...that won't make for a better life. You need to look for and find existing problems, and then help solve them. If you are part of a problem, stop complaining and start finding solutions. This definition will help you to stop avoiding conflict and endure difficulties with the proper emotional state-of-mind. Armed with this new definition, when you find problems, you will be eager to meet them head-on and won't become frustrated. You'll become an overcomer and not a victim of your circumstances.
Adversity and problems are the obstacles that stand between where you are and the results or life you want. The first step to overcoming adversity and problems is to develop an attitude or emotional state-of-mind that can overcome the obstacles. Our attitudes are most affected by our intentions and expectations that create our daily choices and allow us to choose to be better rather than comfortable. This thinking will even start to help you embrace change and stop fighting to hold on to a status quo that may be keeping you average as well.
Redefine a good day, expect problems and hassles. Become an overcomer, a solution finder, and then you'll begin to experience a, 'Good Day'...everyday. This cycle of behavior will make your life is a journey of solutions that serve others and rewards you with the results and life you want.
A final thought for leaders...You are responsible to teach, prepare and help people set expectations that will allow them to live and work towards a better life. Helping people understand how their expectations and intentions are empowering them or sabotaging them is a good first step.
Change your expectations, to prepare for the hassles of life, to increase your happiness and improve your results. Expect more of yourself and less of others...These is one of the top traits of leaders, peak performers and the extraordinary.
By Mike Moore