Are Your Expectations Killing You?

My biggest problem with being shot wasn’t the pain from the bullet in my shoulder but the shock that came from discovering I wasn’t bullet proof.

Had reporters been covering my life none of them would have found it newsworthy for the reasons I did. They knew I couldn’t fly, leap over tall buildings or out drive a locomotive.

Ok, that last part is tied into a true story in which the 20-year-old idiot I used to be took his ’77 Camaro and beat the train across the tracks.

That same idiot trained for hours at the gym and in some ways was a muscle-bound fool who mistook dumb luck for being something other than what it was.


I have more than one stories about how dumb luck provided cover for the idiocy my dumb ass got himself into but we’ll save those for a different time.

For now let that car story serve as the prime example of why my biggest fear surrounding my children is not pedophiles but imitating their father’s reckless behavior.

Expectations and Time

We are a week past the moments where I wondered if I was standing in my own sunshine and those where we discussed how life is about painting a picture and I’d like to think my head is screwed on straight again because for a moment it wasn’t.

I am not used to that.

I don’t panic.

I don’t flail around when things are going wrong.

I handle it.

I talk about how I have a perfect record of surviving every bad day I have ever had.

But I didn’t handle last week the way I wanted to. I didn’t go into the challenges feeling confident or certain and it threw me for a real loop.


Because my expectations were that I would handle whatever life threw at me and I would make it work.

Except the thing was that the prison I keep the demons we call doubt, uncertainty and insecurity locked up in was breached.

The damn things figured out how to slip their chains and we went to war.

There was an extended moment in time where those three had me on the ropes and I found it hard to quiet them down.

Instead of looking at accomplishments I kept seeing failure in places where I should have succeeded. And my expectations of myself made it impossible for me to reconcile what was happening.

Are Your Expectations Killing You?

Tuesday night I lay on my bed in my hotel room, closed my eyes, counted to three and swore I would hunt those three demons down and lock them back up.

And that is what I did.

I shined a light in the dark corners of my mind and challenged what lay there to come out and fight.

I did it because I felt an obligation as a father to show my children that when things get tough you can figure it out, but sometimes you have to hang on.

And I did it because I needed to remind myself that I had a choice about whether I would let those three beat me.

I did it because I needed to work through the moment where I had forgotten that our personal expectations about what our lives should be like sometimes hurt us more than anything else.

Eventually I found my center again and accepted that I can climb the mountain in the picture. I don’t have to fly or jump to the top.

Fact is the joy is often in the journey and it is the experiences that come during it in which we learn the most.

Freedom To Write

If you ask me why I have multiple blogs I’ll tell you they serve multiple purposes and that I get something out of each of them.

One of the best is the freedom to write unencumbered by fear of who might read these words.


Because sometimes you need a place where you dump out the contents of your mind and see what sort of junk has taken refuge within without concern about family, friends or employers getting involved.

Sometimes what you need is the freedom to look at your expectations without judgment so that you can see for yourself that you are the source of your own Kryptonite.

And once you understand that, well then you can fly again.

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  1. Larry May 4, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    I know the battle/challenge of which you speak. Yes, I know it all too well.

  2. Lori May 4, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Hi Jack, Expectations can be a killer! It¹s hard to balance having high expectations and having great goals. Seems they look alike but that¹s where they catch us.
    Still working on this myself. I¹m always pushing the bar up but sometimes that means I miss and fall 😮 🙂

    • Jack May 4, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      Hi Lori,

      Yeah, it is hard not to have that happen. We come up with these ideas that we are certain are solid and then poof, out goes the floor.

  3. Tim Bonner May 4, 2015 at 10:12 am

    I wish I had the confidence to just dump everything that’s going on in my head on my blog. There’s so much in there that wants to escape and the only way I let it out is to speak to my wife or over a beer with a mate.

    Often that doesn’t give me a resolution though. Not that they’ll always be a resolution but I don’t feel like I’ve figured things out. I plan to write more freely on my blog about stuff so maybe at some point, the brain dump will happen.

    • Jack May 4, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      It took a while for me to use this place as a brain dump the way I do now.
      But I’m glad I did because it really has helped me blow off steam, especially if I wasn’t certain I wanted to discuss it with other people.

      • Tim Bonner May 5, 2015 at 1:18 am

        Makes sense. I used to play the piano to vent my frustration but I don’t have one currently. Now I just go for a walk and think things through. I think I could maybe start on my blog with a toned down version of some of things that frustrate me!

        • Jack May 5, 2015 at 5:12 am

          I imagine playing the piano is a great way to do that. I don’t know how to play but it sure seems like a fantastic way to vent.

          Or at least it seems that way, music is such am emotional thing.

  4. Janine Huldie May 4, 2015 at 7:24 am

    I totally get this Jack and sometimes I just want to write too without others really knowing or reading it as it more personal than I am willing to share. So, last year year I decided to start a private blog, which is more of a journal for me. And that has most certainly helped at times such as these. Just glad you are back in action this week and definitely get it though here, as well!

  5. Danny Brown May 4, 2015 at 5:36 am

    You were shot? That is awesome! (in a non-awesome but awesome-interesting way, and don’t let your kids read my comment!)

    It’s funny how we completely change our approach to life when kids come into the equation. My son turned five this weekend just gone, and I was speaking to my wife about the things we did prior to his birth. Late nights, live music, lots of beer, reckless adventures on the flip of a coin….

    Now, we could never do that. Nor would we want to. As you say, we can talk all we want about what’s right, wrong, good, bad – but it’s our actions and examples that our kids will really take something away from.

    We have to be leaders, because if we don’t be, someone else will. And they might not have the same best intentions as we do.

    • Jack May 4, 2015 at 6:50 am

      Hi Danny,

      I need to clear something up. I wasn’t really shot, I was trying to do this sort of ‘Superman’ metaphor but it sounds like it didn’t go as well as I had intended.

      Anyway it has always been amazing to me how quickly things changed after kids and how willing I was to adapt to it. I always expected I would, but I never thought it would be as easy to do as it was.

      I am right with you about the importance of being leaders for the kids. If we want to influence them then we have to assume the role.

  6. Jens-Petter Berget May 4, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Awesome story. And, I can relate to it (not the pain from the bullet though).

    When I started blogging I was just writing without thinking about who might be reading. Now, the freedom I feel is that I write in English and that I haven’t told that many about the blog. I also have a Norwegian blog, but it’s a lot harder to write and publish on that one because I know many of the readers. I keep thinking about what they expect of me, and it ends up making my work harder. On the other hand, I am handling it much better today than I used to.

    • Jack May 4, 2015 at 6:53 am

      I still think it is so very cool that you can write as well as you do in English. You are better than many native speakers.

      Friends and family have known about this blog for years, but very few have ever tried to read it and I have been fine with that. It is not that I can’t talk to them about what I write because I could.

      But sometimes it is easier without them because they don’t get into long conversations about things they think are related but really aren’t.

  7. Vidya Sury May 3, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Easily why I enjoy your writing so much, Jack. This post spoke to me!

    • Jack May 3, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Hi Vidya,

      I am glad this resonated with you. Hope you are doing well. I loved the pictures of you with the Dalai Lama.

      • Vidya Sury May 3, 2015 at 10:18 pm

        Thank you, Jack. I am loving this commenting via email. I confess I went over to the blog to see if it showed up 😀 Reminded me of those days when my son was 2 – discovered “chat”, would type an emoticon and run over to see if I saw it 😀

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