Asking people about their expectations leads to a variety of options that range from no expectations to very specific expectations.
Interestingly, when expectations are shared for the first time, they most often will be aligned with a behavior society seems to describe as the proper behavior in the given situation. These expectations thus seem closer to what people think they should be doing, or others should be doing.
It is a way to be aligned with the existing culture and what it seems to say one should do.
But that makes these expectations something others have determined, it makes it hard for people to describe them, as they haven’t determined them for themselves. It is as if there was a correct formula somewhere one could adhere to.
But to be able to describe it properly, one needs to own the expectation oneself. That is what makes it worth it to dig into expectations. And to try to describe what these expectations really say. It then becomes the question of what they seek to achieve with their activity, project, or endeavor.
For some it can be described with a goal, for others, it can be through the purpose they associate with it.
When exploring one’s expectations, the real answer rarely is the one that is shared first. It takes a few iterations until the answer allows to understand why people do what they do. And that is quite normal as the first answer will be there to serve the person’s need to fit in. The next few answers will help to see the tension between what they think they should do and what they look for.
And once the answer is known, it still takes time to understand it in a way that feels tangible. That becomes the work to transform a more general answer into one that can be used in the given situation. If someone’s expectation is, for example, to feel free, that person will experience moments in which feeling free is to do what they want, whereas in other situations it will be to be within a framework that allows them to be free of a worry by abandoning themselves to that framework.