Few days back, my daughter surprised us with questions which I always wanted to ask my parents as a child – Do you guys make mistakes at all? How come everything goes well for you both while I get constantly corrected?
I didn’t know what to tell her. Should I be happy or worried?
Happy – we are setting the right example
Worried – is she expecting too much? What will happen when we fail? Are we limiting her to see us in a certain frame?
We gathered our thoughts and explained that we do make our share of mistakes everyday as parents but that thought didn’t leave our mind very easily. We kept wondering, what made her think that way and I realized may be it is just the fact that for her, we are ‘parents’ and not individuals who make mistakes, learn from them and grow.
A similar thing happens at work as well. A certain designation tends to build a certain expectation which at times tend to get the better of us. From the time that designation is given, we become so engrossed in performing to the expectations of the title that we sometimes forget to look beyond it and so does others.
Our identity becomes an extension of the designation and creates a perception about us that we would otherwise not be able relate with. Perception, which traps our true identity.
While we are constantly caught up in the expectation management cycle, reality is that, we also expect others to understand that:
- We make mistakes and we want them to forgive and let go
- We have our own vulnerabilities and want others to accept us with those vulnerabilities
- We have our limitations and we need empathy too
- We are constantly trying and we look for acknowledgement
Under normal circumstances everyone understands these but the moment a designation sets in, it becomes our turn to understand everything. This builds in a lot of pressure which we tend to succumb to. Over a period of time it frustrates us, disappoints us and gets us to a position where we are constantly over or underestimating our capabilities. We start judging ourselves.
What can we do to get this message across? Will these expectations compromise our identity or will it make us stronger?
Author : Sumitra Paul Chatterjee
I Train Consultants India Pvt. Ltd.
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