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Value Creation Blog

Do You Confuse Hope and Expectation?

Posted by Josh Patrick

hope-and-expectation1Here’s a problem we all have.  We hope for something and once we start hoping it’ll come true, we expect that it’ll come true.  Is this something you’ve seen?

Hope is a great thing.  Without it we would go through life with a nice big black cloud hanging over our head.  But, if we stop with hope we’ll end up having the black cloud anyway.  It’s known as false expectations.

Hope is just a beginning step.

When you hope something happens, it’s just the first step.  Before you get all excited you need to take a step back and ask yourself a bunch of questions.  The questions that you ask will help you decide whether what you’re hoping for is really a good thing.

After all, hope is just an idea.  It’s not something that you’ve tested.  You don’t even know if the hope is something that will make your life better.  Wouldn’t it make sense that you test this first?

You have to decide why your hope is a good one for you.

I don’t want you to ask this question once.  When you ask a question only once, you just scratch the surface.  I want you to keep poking at the question and find different ways of drilling down.  I want you to find at least five reasons this hope is right for you.

Your goal in this part of the process is to find out whether the hope you have is something that’s worthwhile for you to spend time working on.  I know that too often I start off running after an idea and after spending lots of time on it; I decide I don’t want to keep going.  If I had asked why efficiently I wouldn’t have wasted all of that time and energy.  Does this sound familiar to you?

And, if you spend lots of time and energy on something that you hope to be true, you are less likely to give up if it’s not working out well.  A mantra I want you to consider is this……fail fast/fail cheap.  It’ll serve you well, I promise.

You need to revisit your hope.                    

The next step:  I want you to go back and revisit your hope.  I want you to ask yourself whether this is something you’re willing to spend lots of time and energy on.

You know that you’re not going to make any progress on making a hope a reality unless you put a lot of hard work behind it.  Sometimes after evaluating whether something I hope for will really make my life better I find out that it’s not going to be worth the time and effort.  If you do this more often you’ll end up spending time on things that will make your life better and not just spin your wheels going nowhere.

Who can help you make your hope a reality?

I know that when I go from an idea to something real I always need help.  This is where I want to find someone who is going to join me in working on my dream.  Sometimes it’s a family member and sometimes it’s someone I work with.  Sometimes, it’s even someone I hire to help me think about what will make my hope become a reality.  In all cases there’s always a person besides me who’s going to get involved.

What’s the plan?

OK, you have a hope, you’ve vetted the hope and decided it’s a good one.  You’ve even identified clearly what the hope is and have a team put together who’s going to help you.  Now you need to figure out how it’s all going to happen. 

What are the steps that you have to put in place to make your hope become something that’s real? The more specific and the smaller you make the steps the more likely you’re going to get started.  It’s become really clear to me that small steps are much more likely to happen than great big ones.  What do you think?

Does this look familiar?

If you’ve read this blog for any period of time you’re probably saying to yourself, this sounds familiar.  Isn’t Patrick just talking about the way he helps people solve problems?  If you asked that, you would be correct.

The key here is that a hope easily becomes an expectation.  If you don’t think about how the hope becomes reality it’ll just become a false expectation.  Is this something that you want?  I hope the answer is a resounding no.

Is putting a little early work in something you’re willing to do?

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Topics: op ed

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