living expectations emerson


Sometimes we push ourselves so hard that we fall into the trap of expecting nothing less than perfection when we do things. Sometimes we let others push our buttons, and we feel we have to deliver perfect results. Managing our overly inflated expectations can be challenging, but it is not impossible. You will need to develop coping skills so that your stress never gets the best of you. In fact, you can learn how to deal with the stress of high expectations in a way that allows you to become more effective at everything!

How to Manage Your Need for Perfection

There are many different tools that can help you deal with high expectations. The goal is to handle life’s expectations more effectively so that you can feel better and accomplish more in less time.

1. Prepare for the stress. When you know you are going to be stressed out or that expectations will be higher than usual, you can proactively prepare for it to take the debilitating properties out of the equation. For example, if you are worried about the uncertainties that cannot control, involve others to find out the answers. If it is literally impossible to predict, then all you can do is accept the fact that you cannot control everything in life and make some contingency plans that will help you feel more confident and comfortable.

2. Rehearse for stressful situations. For instance, if you know that you will be making a presentation in front of an audience or that you have to present information to your boss, rehearse your presentation using the same materials you will use for the real deal. This will allow you to see your areas of opportunity so that you can work on gaining the confidence you need. When you rehearse, you take the a lot of the unknown out of the equation so you can simply focus on doing your best without adding any additional anxiety.

3. Be aware of your own thought processes. Many times, when there are high expectations placed upon us by others, we start thinking negatively. For instance, when your boss is being demanding, you may think to yourself, “There is no way I can ever get that done! I am a failure!” This kind of self-defeating talk gets you nowhere. You need to replace the negative thought processes with thoughts like, “Stress challenges me to do more and be more.” You will be able to excel when can you disallow any negative attitudes and replace them with empowering thoughts.

4. Get organized. When you create an action plan, you will find that it is easier to deal with high expectations, from yourself and other. Create a list of the things you need to get done, and prioritize them so that if you start to feel distracted or stressed out, you can always refer to the written plan. When you have a plan, your performance will live up to your expectations and you will find that you are less likely to give in to stress and frustration.

As you can see, there are some simple, yet effective, ways to deal with high expectations. Remember: when people expect a lot from you, it really means that they believe you’re capable of great things. It’s actually a compliment! But you set the tone for realistic expectations.

The goal is to achieve great results through planning, forethought and preparation.


My parents were perfectionists, so I think it must be genetic. :) I am somewhat driven and it has taken me a long time to be able to rein some of that in. As I continue on the road to recovery tis year, I have tried, and failed, on several occasions to make schedules this year for tasks and writing assignments as though I were in relatively perfect health.

As a recovering practitioner of perfection, I can tell you that it only takes a few cycles of making schedules, letting yourself down, beating yourself up, then forgiving yourself to see that you need to be on a different road.

And, that in fact, is why we write here. These posts are designed to help you see a little further down the road, to keep you from falling into every hole, so that your existence can be a little more stress-free.

Affirmation: Today, I take all power away from stress

Action (Journal):

1. Which situations cause me the most stress, and why am I still tolerating them?

2. How am I dealing with my stress? Are my reactions productive, or do I resort to anger?