August 29

Expectations vs. Reality

Expectations vs. Reality

By Deborah Johnson

August 29, 2016

expectations, healthy habits, mindsets

Expectations vs. Reality

Do your expectations hold one thing and reality hold something totally different? Such as, when you visit a new restaurant the food, though a little spicy,  looks amazing and your mouth waters thinking of the gastronomic delight. Reality: after the first bite, you down a full glass of water and your mouth is on fire for the rest of the day. Life is also full of fulfilled expectations. We expect the sun to rise every morning and set every evening; expect the light to turn on with a switch–that is if the electric bill is paid; expect water to run out of the faucet. Those are everyday expectations that we have come to rely on and enjoy.

What about other expectations that hold a different reality? At the altar, many expect their life to change for the better as they commit life and love until death should part. Reality: differing levels of communication skills, illness and varying priorities, exhaustion and resentment, then the reality of divorce.

Expectations for new parents? I remember thinking I’d never truly be alone again holding a little bundle of joy that would gurgle, smile up at me and love me for the rest of my life. Reality:  I’d truly never be alone again, that warm gurgle turned into piercing screams during the night and the unending flow of cash for most every sports program didn’t always make me feel loved.  I know some parents who wonder what they really signed up for.

First Class Expectations: Coach Reality

Recently, we flew across the country to help a friend celebrate retirement as a major airline pilot. When we received the itinerary printout for our discounted tickets, they said “first class.” Expectations: wide, cushy seats, champagne upon arrival and a gourmet breakfast on the plane. I even imagined the movie I’d watch, drifting off in a blissful nap.

Reality: when I got in line for first class, the attendant said, Oh no, we have not called you yet. You have a buddy pass. I quickly learned that buddy passes board very last, if there’s room on the plane. All my grand visions of first class suddenly vaporized with the reality that we may not even get on the flight. Fortunately we got on our first flight, but for the last leg of the trip, we rented a car and drove the rest of the way. The reality of four hours of driving was better than seven in an airport, still not knowing if we’d get on that last flight of the day.

What Are Your Expectations?

High expectations, big dreams and lofty goals are touted by many, especially those with a multi-level organizational plan. Many conferences and meetings create an atmosphere of high expectations. However, after those inspiring moments of creating goals, the resulting reality holds many long hours of work, completing projects, sleepless nights wrestling through a new business idea, stressful moments of creative financing to stay afloat, communicating with irate customers, the list goes on and on.

Many are running uphill with expectations of coasting downhill when their business gets to a certain point, or in retirement. However, reality is not an effortless journey in our current economic climate. If you are a runner, you know that maneuvering down the hill can be trickier than going up. There is the reality of evading holes of an unexpected health crisis, planning for twists and turns in the financial market and dodging rocky relationships, making going downhill anything but smooth. The steep path of being an entrepreneur, business owner, musician or speaker doesn’t guarantee a smooth path later in life. However, creatively working with the reality of your situation will get you to your destination with more realistic expectations.

Setting Realistic Goals

Keep dreaming big, set those goals and post them everywhere. Only, prepare for the reality ahead. Part of growing, either personally or in your business, is the journey and realistic expectations. In my  book Bad Code: Overcoming Bad Mental Code That Sabotages Your Life, I talk about a sturdy mental toolbox as a necessary addition to your life tools. The inspiration for the toolbox came from my father’s toolbox. He hand-made it, holding it together with fire hose. My father used what he had, but that sturdy toolbox lasted throughout most of his career. 

For more ideas on goal setting with long and short-term goals, see Goal Setting. There are FREE downloadable worksheets that will help you get started!

Deborah Johnson is all about using Creativity to expand your business. Get Unstuck and get rid of Bad Code with the book Bad Code: Overcoming Bad Mental Code That Sabotages Your Life! You can reach Deborah the following ways: Twitter: @DJWorksMusic; YouTube:; Facebook:; Websites:;

Deborah Johnson

About the author

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

Never miss a good story! Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the latest news, articles, music & trends!

Never any Spam!