What is your relationship to expectations?

Feb 16, 2018
Kemi Nekvapil Weekly Words Blog

One my best non-fiction reads so far in 2018 was The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. She is internationally recognised as a thought leader working in the areas of habit change, happiness and human nature, and I want to share her work with you.

The Four Tendencies premise is based on the relationship each of us has with expectations: expectations of ourselves and the expectations of others.

Gretchen explains that, once we know what our relationship is to expectations, we are then able to honour our tendency in a way that allows us to be more effective, more productive and happier.

Here is a short explanation of each of the tendencies. You might or might not recognise yourself right away.

NOTE: No tendency is better than any other, they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

  • The Upholder – Meets outer expectations – Meets inner expectations
  • The Obliger – Meets outer expectations – Resists inner expectations
  • The Questioner – Resists outer expectations – Meets inner expectations
  • The Rebel – Resists outer expectations – Resists inner expectations

For a little more insight, common thoughts or feelings of each tendency are:

Upholder – “Discipline is my freedom.”
Obliger – “I’ll do anything you ask. Until I won’t.”
Questioner – “But why?”
Rebel – “You can’t make me and neither can I.”

As a coach, I am always exploring new ways to be of better service to my clients. I am continually learning and reading, so that I can continually implement tools and processes that will be of maximum benefit to my clients.

Over the last two months, I have shared the four tendencies with a couple of my clients who were struggling to keep on top of their commitments. Both clients considered themselves to be obligers, which gave insight into why they were struggling. They were meeting the commitments and expectations of the people around them, but not the commitments they had made to themselves.

One of the key tools for obligers to meet inner expectations is to have high levels of accountability for the actions they commit to.

Knowing this completely shifted how my clients felt about themselves. Instead of “I’m lazy”, “I never do what I say I will do”, “I always give up”, they now have ways of being held accountable that work for them and make them feel happier about how they operate in the world.

And then, of course, there is the difference it has made in our household.

We currently have two upholders, one obliger, one questioner and one questioner/rebel (we are not sure about the last one yet!)

After we all took the quiz (link below), we began relating differently, as we were able to understand each other in a new way. It has literally brought as much hilarity as it has understanding to the dining room table.

I highly recommend The Four Tendencies if you are someone who loves getting to know yourself better, if you are someone who wants to communicate with the people in your world better, or if you are someone who wants to continually be kinder to yourself and others.

The Quiz

Please note that if you decide to do the quiz you will automatically be added to Gretchen’s mailing list. Of course you can unsubscribe at any time.

Wishing you a weekend of knowing yourself a little more. xx

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