Today's guest blogger is Michelle Kunz, Director of iPEC's Washington, DC school.
February — the month of Groundhogs, Love and Presidents. What do these three have in common? At first glance, nothing at all. But if we look with curiosity — with the eyes of a coach, we begin to see a different pattern emerge.
We enjoy Groundhog Day as a fun, kid-centered tradition that will tell us how much longer winter will last. The expectation is that the groundhog will see his shadow or not, and this predicts our seasonal future. In our hearts we know there is little connection between a groundhog and the seasons, but we like the idea that we could really know how long until the sunny sun of spring can be counted on to stick around.
Valentine's Day — many people have a love/hate relationship with this day. If you're in a relationship, you may have expectations around what your partner should or should not do to observe the day which honors love. If you aren't in a relationship, you may have some feelings about that when people around you are receiving flowers and chocolates. Our society has laid plenty of expectations on us around what success in love should or should not be, and we often eat those messages up without giving very much consideration to how well they serve us as individuals.
President's Day traditionally honors our most famous and, some might say, heroic presidents from the past. Whether their stories are based on truth or have become the stuff of conventional legend is not as important to us on this day as that we have founding fathers that stand on very high pedestals and can provide role models for us. We often use these examples as guidelines for what we expect from our current leaders, regardless of the shift in cultural contexts which may have occurred since the founding of the nation. How can a modern president possibly stand up to the expectation to be a Washington or a Lincoln when these men have become more icons than actual men? And why would we measure anyone against the expectation to be anyone else?
Do you see the theme yet? Expectations. I learned earlier this year while on personal retreat a key difference between expectations and intentions, and it has to do with how much attachment we have around the end result. When we look at our goals with the eyes of a coach, we learn the difference between setting intentions and being passionately engaged in the activities which will get us there, and having expectations — insisting that the end result be this or that. We learn to be flexible within the context of our growth and development, and new possibilities enter our frame of reference as we move through our journey. I encourage you to explore this in your own life and see what you uncover.
Warm regards for a month free of expectations and full of intentions,