How to thrive more often: standards vs expectations

Do you ever feel disappointed with yourself? Why?

Have I ever felt disappointed with myself? Why?

I used to from time to time, mostly because I didn’t realize the difference between standards and expectations. Over the past couple of years, I have found myself almost never being disappointed with myself. This is not to say that I don’t miss a goal, or want to be better in some way. This is not to say I don’t strive for higher ground. What I am saying is, that I don’t feel the energy of disappointment anymore, almost never. Do I still have standards? Of course. Do I still have expectations? Less and less.

That might sound odd. It might sound like I’m saying I’m lazy, which clearly I’m not. When I was first introduced to this concept, I pushed back very hard. How could anyone live a life worth living without expectations?! One, I was confusing expectations with standards, and two, I was confusing confidence with self esteem. Let’s dive in...

Confidence and Self-Esteem

Confidence is how we feel about what we are doing. Self-Esteem is how we feel about ourselves, no matter what we are doing. Obviously both are important to develop over the course of our life. Have you noticed some people whom you know, are very outwardly confident, or at least they appear to be clearly confident when they walk into a room? Have you spoken to any of them privately, and noticed that they don’t seem so confident when you speak to them about the reality of their life and what’s going on?

It doesn't mean they're not confident. It means they are lacking in self-esteem.

This is not a judgement. This is just helping us all be aware of the difference between these two concepts. While confidence is needed to experience some level of success, it is Self-Esteem that provides the long term energy to cross a more distant finish line.

Standards and Expectations

When we have high standards, and high expectations, this can be a natural outcome of having some level of confidence, and a lower level of self-esteem.

When we have high standards, and lower expectations, this can be a natural outcome of having both some level of confidence and self-esteem. 

That may seem like I inadvertently reversed the position of high and low expectations, right? No matter how much we succeed, there will be challenges. Why? Here’s one example; when we have both high standards and high expectations, which correlate to confidence and self-esteem, it is very easy to stop noticing the difference between all four. Like a plate of food that has too many unbalanced ingredients, it can become muddled. 

A standard is a chosen level of intrinsic value with which we choose to live. An expectation is something we expect or want to happen in our life.

  1. We show up to a celebration of some kind, and we “expect” for certain things to happen. 
  2. We show up to the same celebration, and this time we show up with our own internal standard of how to choose to experience the celebration.

When we choose #1, we have a relatively large chance of not just being disappointed, but more importantly, missing our completely on the joy of that moment. We miss out on making connections and learning from others.

When we choose #2, we choose that moment to be where we are.


Thriving and Being

As some of you know, one of my favorite mantras is “And, not or.”

I have found that the more I am in a state of being in any moment, connected to my own standard(s), the pace and intensity of my ability to thrive is greatly enhanced. It feels like I’m not working as hard, yet synergy increases, as do many concrete outcomes. Expectations become moot, because I’m too immersed in the moment itself.

We can be. We can thrive. We choose how we do this. 

Choose And.

Un abrazos fuerte,


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