Expectations - Dig for the buried gem!

For the last couple of weeks I have been working on a project with a group of people.  The work itself is going well and right alongside the accomplishments there are some strained interactions across the team while working together.  It has been interesting to see myself getting triggered by actions or non-actions of the people involved.  There is seldom one “reason” for stress, yet when we examine communication breakdowns, we will often find that there is an unmet or unexpressed expectation.  When we look at the word expectation, there are some really good clues:
plural noun: expectations
a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
"accomplishments had not lived up to expectations"
a belief that someone will or should achieve something.
"s/he had high expectations for their future"
"her/his expectations were unrealistic"
synonyms:  supposition, assumption, presumption, conjecture, surmise, calculation, prediction, hope

This definition is from one online dictionary and when we examine the "definitions” (in bold above)  we can immediately see that expectations are, by definition, subject to interpretation.   So, the next time you find yourself stressed or triggered by a communication breakdown, examine for yourself what expectation you placed upon the person or situation.
When I examined my situation, I noticed the expectation I was holding was related to “how much I was being asked to do”.  Once I began the project, it became clear that I was being asked to do much more than I had expected.   This required that I would have to work more hours and with more intensity than I was prepared to offer.  This wasn’t so bad, I could work through it. Or so I thought. 
What I began to notice was that each time I worked more or longer than I “expected,” it began to feel like “they were doing this to me.”  Well, perhaps you canimagine how that worked out!  In case you can’t imagine, think about a time someone asked you to do something you didn’t want to do?  How did you feel? Maybe you noticed things like resistance, resentment, resignation.
When I was able to get some clarity about the situation, it was easy to see that what actually happened was my expectation was not met.  “They weren’t doing anything to me”.  With this realization, the situation had the opportunity for resolution. When you are facing a communication or relationship breakdown, look for the hidden expectation that you are holding.  Dig for that buried gem!