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  • Lacy Starling

#128: Aspiration vs. Expectation

This morning, when I sat down to do my meditation, my mind was a whirl. I've just come through Christmas, and had four days of really not doing much, while hanging out with my daughter and husband. I was feeling behind, overwhelmed, and pressured to churn out as much work as possible in the next week, when I'm still not "working" and my daughter is at her dad's.


And, as usual, the Universe planted the message I needed firmly in my brain. My meditation today focused on the difference between aspirations and expectations. Which is a particularly timely message in the week before the new year, when I'm setting my goals for the next 12 months, and working hard to set myself up for success.


Here's the difference, in a nutshell. Aspirations are the reasons we enter into any activity. It sets the direction for our actions. We determine what path leads to that end state we aspire to. Expectations, on the other hand, are the desire for things, in the moment, to be a certain way, as if we can exercise total control over the situation. And that's a setup for struggle.


An example: We start a diet and exercise plan to become healthier. That's the aspiration. Two weeks in, we think we *should* have lost five pounds already. That's the expectation. The aspiration gives us drive and direction, and the expectation leaves us feeling disappointed that we haven't progressed to where we want to be or where we think we should be.


This happens everywhere in our lives, and I find it particularly difficult in my business. I think I should be farther along, or that I should have more success or more revenue, but honestly, I can't control that. All I can do is allow my aspirations to set the direction of my efforts, put in the best effort I can, and then let go control of the results.


Which is terrifying for a control freak like me, but necessary if I'm ever going to be able to focus on anything but my own expectations. Therefore, one of my goals for 2021 is to let go of expectations, and focus instead on my aspirations.

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