The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfilment of that hope never entirely removes.” – Thomas Hardy
Take the example of a manager (Bob) who is due for retirement. He has raised and nurtured the people within his team and believes that he has one (Bessy) who can take on the mantle when he leaves. Bob believes it so much that he even tells Bessy what he wants for her. He sets out his vision because he wants to engage and enthuse her. Bob wants Bessy to think of him as her champion. He wants Bessy to be grateful and thankful.
But life doesn’t work like that and things change. Bob didn’t ultimately have the power to make these things happen. Circumstances mean that instead the powers that be want to restructure, reorganise and whilst they have a role in mind for Bessy, it’s not the one that she had been led to believe. It’s good, but it’s not that good.
And so we finish in a place that feels worse than where we started. Even though Bessy gets something out of it, it’s not the size of the prize that she had in mind. If nothing had been said she would probably have been happy and contented. Instead she is demoralized and confused. Bob was trying to do a good thing, but ended up doing the opposite.
There is nothing worse than having your hopes dashed. Hoping for a future which turns out to be nothing more than a pipe dream. Like a kid on Christmas Day realizing that Santa has no better idea of what they really like or want than their Mum and Dad.
Sometimes it pays to think about the expectations you raise….and the potential consequences.