Disappointment comes from unmet expectations. Expectations influence behavior. People choose behaviors that they expect will yield an intended result. (Vroom, 1964).  For example, we choose to give our best effort at work because we expect that a hard, high-quality effort will lead to constructive feedback from the boss, new and better assignments, and a nice bonus. When it doesn’t, we get disappointed (and then pissed!).

You can manage your emotions by managing your expectations. There are two broad types of expectations – 1.) Those we have of others; and 2.) Those we have for ourselves. If you’re making decisions based on the expectations of others, you’re opening yourself to disappointment. Feedback from the boss, new and better assignments or a big bonus require people that we don’t control to do something for us. That’s a risky expectation!

Don’t overly rely on others to meet your expectations. Let’s say you fully engage and do your best work with three expectations –

  1. You will develop skills and experience that you would not otherwise have
  2. Those incremental skills and experience will better prepare you for whatever lies ahead
  3. You’re not going to do anything to harm your brand

These expectations don’t depend on anyone other than yourself. They are gifts you’re giving yourself…personal choices that YOU CONTROL. I’m not suggesting that you avoid placing expectations on others, but you do need to balance your expectations…and that’s a great cure for disappointment!

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