Mastering the Art of Expectations: How Understanding Your Tendency Can Improve Mental Health and Productivity

In a world filled with expectations and societal norms, it can be challenging for female entrepreneurs to navigate their path and find success on their own terms. As a driven woman entrepreneur myself, I understand the struggles and frustrations that can arise from feeling constrained by the expectations of others. That's why I wanted to delve into the topic in this blog.  

Understanding these tendencies is crucial because they influence how we navigate our business and personal relationships. That's why I've been using Gretchen Rubin's book "The 4 Tendencies" in my coaching practice for several years. It helps clients understand why they struggle to meet other people's expectations while meeting their own. In this episode, I aim to break down the framework of the four tendencies and help you, as a driven woman entrepreneur, understand which tendency resonates with you the most.

Do you identify as an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? Take a moment for self-reflection and consider how your tendency manifests in your business, work life, and personal relationships. Reflect on how you feel about your tendency - do you resist, resent, embrace, or accept it? Recognize that not everyone meets other people's expectations while also letting themselves down.

It's essential to establish clear expectations in any role, whether it's in business or personal relationships. Express your expectations when working with others to avoid disappointment and resentment. Remember, we are often better at meeting the expectations of others while neglecting our own, which can lead to burnout and dissatisfaction.

Moreover, understanding our tendencies becomes even more crucial for individuals with specific diversities, such as mental health diagnoses or ADHD. By recognizing how our tendency influences our abilities and challenges, we can create strategies to work more effectively within our parameters.

Often perceived as uncooperative or defiant, Questioners have an innate need for justification. They dislike anything that seems arbitrary and always seek a rational explanation for tasks or requests. However, it's important to note that the perception of questioners as resistant to tasks is often inaccurate. 

Many successful individuals who have been labeled as rebels have achieved immense wealth and success precisely because they defied expectations and proved others wrong. These individuals are probably better off being self-employed because adhering to other's expectations is much more of a struggle for them than for the other three tendencies.  

Building a career and lifestyle solely based on proving others wrong may not be healthy in the long run. It's crucial to develop a sense of purpose and mission that goes beyond simply resisting authority or societal norms. This is where social entrepreneurship can play a significant role. Rebels, who have gone against the system but have a deep belief in a particular cause, can create positive change while still challenging expectations.

On the other hand, some identify as Upholders - self-starters, self-motivators, and self-initiators. Upholders excel at following rules, and regulations, and hitting key performance indicators. They eagerly await their annual performance evaluations and actively participate in them, aiming for a perfect score. However, Upholders may find it difficult to work with a boss who has different tendencies or expectations. Other employees may feel that an upholder boss has unrealistic expectations and holds them to unattainable standards.

Most people are Obligers, and in my opinion, this is a very good thing. Obligers tend to do what is expected of them, and as a result, they make great employees, partners, and community members and generally help organizations thrive.  The downside is that Obligers are so good at doing what others expect at their own expense.  They often fail to meet their own expectations for self-care and well-being, so they are at greater risk of burnout.  

As female entrepreneurs, we possess unique perspectives and experiences that shape our professional journeys. It's important to acknowledge that everyone sees the world differently and sets different expectations for themselves and others. Disappointment and frustration often arise when others do not behave the way we think they should. By developing justifiable expectations and fostering open communication, we can cultivate more fulfilling relationships and achieve greater success on our terms.

I hope this blog post has given you valuable insights into expectations and how understanding your tendencies can impact your entrepreneurial journey. If you'd like to dive deeper into this topic, I recorded an episode on The Driven Woman Entrepreneur Podcast and you can find it here:

To help you navigate your tendency more effectively, I have a worksheet that offers additional ideas and information for further exploration. Feel free to reach out to me to request it. I’m on LinkedIn or Instagram @coachdiannwingert, or you can send me an email at [email protected], with the subject line: 4 Tendencies. 



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