Managing Your Expectations

Goal setting can often exclude the more basic need to be compassionate

I have learned a spiritual rule: Whenever my expectations for others cause me to treat them in a less than compassionate way, something is wrong with my expectations. This rule needs to be consistently applied whenever we act as church leaders. Before turning something sticky, like staff management, consider the following examples:


You find yourself shaming your child because you want him to do his homework. Consider this, your true expectation should be that your child finds his path in life and accumulates the tools to live fruitfully and with compassion. Shamed people rarely establish healthy egos and develop to their fullest potential. You must adjust your expectations, so that your actions as a parent have a deeper motivation than just wanting your child be an “A” student.


I’m always yelling at telephone solicitors. I know this is wrong. They are human beings (when they aren’t recorded messages). My expectation that my morning be uninterrupted is interfering with my greater expectation, that I always treat all people well. Perhaps my pride in being a writer needing quiet is a false expectation.


Now consider the last time you reprehended a staff member. What expectations were you acting out of? Which ones should have been primary? Even when he displayed anger and cleaned the temple, Jesus acted on his higher expectations, i.e. that the Temple be a house of prayer for all people. Will your church become more of a place of peace and a home for prayer if you get your way on the this matter with your staff? Is is possible to tailor your expectations so that they do not cause others to be shamed or treated badly? Changing your expectations may change your temperament.