expect less

Chances are, I would make an awful self-help guru. Tony Robbins and his contemporaries will likely hold a public shunning upon reading my new mantra for this upcoming school year.

My mantra is:


        ~ expect less ~



Where’s the set-the-bar-high pep talk?

Where’s the you-can-do-anything-you-set-your-mind-to encouragement to help others over the 8 months of hump-days?

Where’s the return-on-investment for my employer?

What kind of educator are you?

Step to the back of the queue, Negative Ned’s and Nellie’s!   I have set my mind to ‘expecting less’ and it is my intention to experience more peace this year by doing just that.

Read on, MacDuff!  Just getting to the good part.




Imagine it

What would it look like if I went through my work day of supporting students, collaborating with colleagues, problem-solving with parents and facilitating meditation classes all while ‘expecting less’?


I imagine it would look something like this…


Less wishful thinking that others can read my mind’s manifesto on how things ‘should’ be done.

More clear, direct requests for what I want.


Less personalizing when situations still don’t go my way even with clear, direct requests.

More acceptance of all outcomes whether or not they fall within my way of doing things.


Less soul-sucking over-efforting to drive up my number-of-people-pleased stats.

More doing the task in front of me with integrity and authentic presence regardless of who is watching.


Less compulsion to efficient task completion as if someone is literally waiting at my door for results.

More doing the task in front of me with integrity and authentic presence regardless of who is waiting.


Less obsession with results. And even less obsession with the mythical, perfect results.

More focus on making eye contact, taking a breath before speaking and listening, listening, listening. (Then way more self-care for balance!)


Less complaining.

More expecting less!


Less frantic, externally-driven movement.

More internally-driven, deep-breathed pacing.


Less reaction.

More response.


Less performing.

More presence.


By the way, I will also be expecting less from you. Great news for you.

Bring on the busyness of a new year.  My mantra and I are ready for you!



6 thoughts on “expect less

  1. Beautiful as always Danette.

    The English language, or perhaps our loose use of it causes so much confusion. “Expect less” does not imply an intention to do less, or a loss of hope for what others can or will do. It does not mean giving up. It does not even mean lowering the bar.

    Supporting students, collaborating with colleagues, problem-solving with parents and facilitating meditation classes are things that you do. The skill with which these are carried out is better driven by intention, ability, and situation, than by expectation, anxiety/fear, and self-judgment.

    I love your writing. Simple, humorous, light, but thought provoking, causing me to re-examine some aspects of my own life, beliefs, thoughts, behaviours. A timely post and adopting your mantra will be healthy for me.

    • It’s as if you were inside my head as this concept percolated over the past few months! 🙂

      Before I had written this, I mentioned to a colleague that I would be adopting an “expect less” mantra this year and she said, “As in expect less cuz that is all yer gonna get from me?” And then we laughed as we often do. She, like you, understood the double meaning of ‘expect less’.

      I like how you clearly and intentionally separated the skill of the work with the expectation. Without setting this intention to keep these two separate, this often gets muddy and too interconnected.

      And you absolutely hit the nail on the head with the word ‘driven’. The weight of my own expectations are heavy enough so when I add the expectations of others and put all of that in the driver’s seat, then there is not control over the steering wheel. And I’m just along for a crazy ride!

      As always, I sincerely appreciate your insight and wonderful commentary!

      Here’s to a season of letting our intention, abilities and situation direct our work and letting expectations take a back seat!

  2. Hmmm…..expecting less of myself and others? So many of your points hit home with me….especially the less compulsion to efficient task completion. Thanks for this reminder before the new school year begins. However, I hope to practice the same mantra at home. Thank you for your eloquent and thought provoking words once again.

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