Devon Franklin’s 3 Simple Steps for Managing Your Expectations

If you set unrealistic expectations for yourself, that you then can't meet, it takes a toll on your self-worth and mental health.

Devon Franklin’s 3 Simple Steps for Managing Your Expectations

Because the pandemic has put a lot of lives or career paths on pause, many people are feeling like they're not where they thought they'd be by now. And with things like social media, that sense of failing to meet your expectations is as present as ever. And this all takes a serious toll on our self-worth and mental health. So Devon Franklin, a bestselling author and motivational speaker, wanted to help us get back on track. Here is his simple three-step guide to managing your expectations.

Tune in Thursday to watch Devon's interview with Dr. Oz. Use the "When to Watch" tool above to see when it airs for you.


1. Ask yourself, "Is this expectation in my control?"

First figure out what's out of your control. In other words, is this a realistic or unrealistic expectation?

"It comes down to this control. What is within your control to do? Now, here's why this is so important. Because so often, we have expectations of other people. The only thing that we control is ourselves and the remote. That's it. We don't control anybody else. If you don't actually control the result, I argue it is unrealistic to expect that it will be done," Devon said.

2. Determine if this expectation needs to be communicated?

The unspoken expectation is really harmful to your relationships. First you need to decide if your expectation is realistic, and then determine if you need to say it loud for it to be met. Because when it comes down to it, people can't read your mind!

"Often in relationships or in a job situation, we have these unspoken expectations we don't communicate. It's really important to use the power of communication to ask, 'Can I expect this? Can I not?' Here's [a detail] that's really important. If you ask the question, you've got to give the other person the ability to say yes or no. You don't get to determine if they can meet it or can't meet it. That is up to them. If they meet it, great, and if not, maybe there's another way that expectation is supposed to be met. But it all starts with communicating. No matter how much someone loves you, they can't read your mind. You got to use your words," Devon said.

3. Do a "joy vs. pain" assessment.

Be sure that this expectation will bring you more joy than pain.

"Too often, we have expectations that don't make us feel good. … You've got to decide: If it's more pain than joy, let it go. If it's more joy than pain, keep it. Very simple way to assess if you are having the right expectations or not," Devon said.

Extra Tip: Keep your eye on the process, not the result.

You can't truly control the result in most cases. So what can you control? The process.

Too often, when we focus on the result and not the process, we miss the very thing we can control. The process is the soil. If we water the soil, if we give it sunlight, then whatever's meant to grow will grow," Devon said.

And if you ignore the soil while you think about the goal, those flowers will never even have a chance to grow.

"We control the process: how we work, the discipline, how long we choose to work, etc. And when we put emphasis on the process, the results take care of themselves," Devon said.

For more advice on breaking free from unrealistic expectations, check out Devon Franklin's book "Live Free: Exceed Your Highest Expectations."

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Davis, who is also the founder of the support group Beyond Alzheimer's, was at her father's side as his disease progressed through his final days. In her new book, "Floating in the Deep End: How Caregivers Can See Beyond Alzheimer's," Davis looks at how caregivers can help themselves while helping others.

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