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Penny Power Ponders ‘do our expectations serve us?’

This week, I have been pondering the expectation people set for themselves and how these become so deeply programmed into our minds and become a driving force, which can be negative.

I thought I would share a fabulous message that I received from a Radio 4 program about 8 years ago.

To give you some context, eight years ago, in 2017, I was caught up in a scarcity mindset. It was an unusual mindset for me, but it occurred due to experiencing success and then losing it. We all know life is not linear, however, when we peak our success at certain stages in life, we kind of set that as the bar to reach again and again. That’s sounds great in principle, but can cause a great deal of internal pain.

That peak sets our expectations of our lives, and perhaps, it really was a moment in time, and that our actual reality and the conditions around us find it hard to reach again.

Our peak was being personally valued at £22million when we were about to float Ecademy in the year 2000. Did we have that money in the bank, no we didn’t, but did our internal identity believe it, well, I can now see that it did. I wonder how many of us set these outlier moments as our benchmark of success.

Now let me tell you what I learned from this Radio 4 program. Some of this is remembered as an interpretation, I listened intently as I was driving and now 8 years later you are hearing our version.

The program was being transmitted LIVE from a Conference. On stage was a professor who was explaining how our minds work around money.

He invited a man up from the audience to join him on the stage and pulled out a twenty-pound note, thanked him for coming up and gave him it.

The man looked confused, he was told that there was no reason for giving you this money, “I just wanted to give it to you”, the professor said. As he was leaving, he was called back and given another £20.00. Again, for no reason. This repeated, with a £10.00. So now the man had £50.00.

As he left the stage once more, the professor suddenly said, holding on to his earpiece, “I am sorry, I made an error, can I have £10.00 back’. The man walked over and gave it back.

Once seated back in the audience the professor asked him to share truthfully, how he felt, did he feel better or worse for being given the money.

The reply was “well, I actually feel worse, I thought I had £50.00 and now I only have £40.00”. His expectations had been set and then dashed. The reward centre of his brain had lit up, his dopamine was lifted, and then it dropped though losing £10.00.

Listening to this, I thought deeply about when I had touched £22 million. I thought about the feeling of losing our dream of a global business family, I felt the pain of his expectation.

Then I thought about the life I desired, before the heady days of birthing Ecademy, and I realised, I was exactly where I always wanted to be. Life was good, I had achieved our real definition of success, our life was what I wanted. I was safe, I had a good living and the family I always hoped for as a young girl.

Many of us have peaks, many of us have troughs, but perhaps when it all levels out, we are where we were want to be.

So this week, if you can ponder this, ask yourself,

  • what are your expectations of our life, and what is the benchmark you have set?
  • is that benchmark serving you or is it causing you to feel scarce and stopping you from appreciating yourself and the life you have created.

Perhaps you will feel like I did.

Perhaps life is good, and so was that peak; but that was all it was, a moment in time when things came together.

With that awareness, I believe your mind will open up, you will relax into your deep drivers, and I am sure you will find that peak again, but without the feeling of lack that was driving you, and perhaps hurting you.

Whatever caused that peak, can come again, it is amazing what scarcity and frustration can do when that becomes your driven force, unsurprisingly, it pushes away the mountain that you want to climb; change your energy, and that mountain will seem much closer.

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