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Anticippointment: When What We Anticipate Disappoints

One of our neighbors/friends Sonya mentioned the word “anticippointment” during our small group discussion on unmet expectations. We all loved this new word!

It is such a great word to describe how we may find ourselves feeling from time to time.

I used to say to myself: “Nothing ever turns out as bad as you fear, and nothing turns out as good as you hope.” It was my own version of expectation management. Unfortunately, it is not accurate.

Sometimes things turn out worse than you feared, but sometimes things turn out even better than expected. The key is knowing how to respond no matter how things turn out.

Years ago, Debbie and I went through marriage counseling. The root of our struggles with communicating was another challenge we face: unspoken expectations.

Handling unmet expectations is one thing, but not meeting the expectations another has for you because they were never expressed is quite another.

In a post called Anticipation vs. Anxiety, author and marketeer Seth Godin writes: “If we define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance, we can also understand its antonym, anticipation.”

When you work with anticipation, you will highlight the highs. You’ll double down on the things that will delight and push yourself even harder to be bold and to create your version of art. If this is going to work, might as well build something that’s going to be truly worth building.

If you work with anxiety, on the other hand, you’ll be covering the possible lost bets, you’ll be insuring against disaster and most of all, building deniability into everything you do. When you work under the cloud of anxiety, the best strategy is to play it safe, because if (when!) it fails, you’ll be blameless.

Not only is it more fun to work with anticipation, it’s often a self-fulfilling point of view.”

How do you manage expectations in your life? Are you an optimist? pessimist? realist? or some sort of combination?

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Dr. Eric Michael Bryant serves with Gateway Church in Austin as the team leader for Central and South Austin and as part of the teaching team. Eric previously served at Mosaic in Los Angeles and his books include Not Like Me: A Field Guide to a Influencing a Diverse World and A Fruitful Life: Becoming Who You Were Created To Be. Eric coaches church planters and campus pastors, teaches on Post Christian Ministry, and leads a cohort for a Doctorate of Ministry in Missional Effectiveness through Bethel Seminary where he earned his Doctorate of Ministry in Entrepreneurial Leadership.