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2.08.2012

THE ART OF EXPECTATIONS

The power of telling.  Not the power of suggestion.  There is a definite difference between them.  There were times, when parenting my then young daughter, that I wanted her to do something.  Instead of telling her, I found myself suggesting she do it.  Trying to get her to do whatever it was I wanted her to do because it was the right or appropriate thing.  Like this; "Hannah, would you go pick up your room?"  Why was I asking a 9 year old such a thing.  I was not giving her a choice, yet by my words I was implying she had a choice.  I caught myself.  I changed gears.  "Hannah, go pick up your room please."  The expectation was set as to what I wanted her to do.  Really simple, most of the time:)  I use that same tactic with people all the time when I want them to do something not on their agenda.  Yesterday I met a girlfriend for coffee.  We've met at this same place a handful of times, so the "system" of that coffee shop was familiar.  There were always 3 pump pots out; decaf, regular unflavored and the flavor of the day.  I am bit picky about my coffee and have very distinctive likes and dislikes.  No to the decaf - might as well forgo coffee if I have to drink that crap!  No to the unflavored Tanzanian Roast - I like smooth coffee and it's a rarity that unflavored blends hit the mark there.  Yes to the flavor of the day depending on what it was.  Yesterday's flavor of the day was Turtle Sundae.  Ugh:(  I love nuts and caramel, but hate chocolate infused flavors in coffee.  Just like I don't like fruit infused flavors in coffee either.   I pumped myself a cup of Turtle Sundae, doctored it up thoroughly lightish tan with half and half and took a sip.  Thankfully we were alone in the coffee shop - just me, my friend and the staff.  "Yuck! I hate chocolate flavors.  This is bad." I told my friend.  I commented to her that I loved their French Vanilla and their Vermont Maple was great too.  I did not want to sit there for a couple of hours with my friend and be relegated to drinking a flavor of coffee that was horrible.  So, I did what seemed extremely reasonable, I told the lady behind the counter that I did not care for chocolate flavored coffee, but loved their Vermont Maple and hoped that would have been the flavor today.  I stressed how much I did not like the flavor and how much I loved the one I wanted.  She said, "Well, if you drink that pot, then I might be able to make you Vermont Maple."  I laughed inside thinking there was no way in hell I was drinking any more of that crappy flavor and that she would make a pot of what I liked.  It would just be a matter of time and the right combinations of words and tones.  My friend cringed at my boldness.  Would my power of telling over asking work with this coffee shop employee? Would my ability to tell someone an expectation, which leaves no room for choice, garner me a pot of Vermont Maple?  I giggled to my friend and told her to watch.  I let a bit of time pass.  The employee milled around behind the counter.  I looked at her and in an expectant voice with a cheery manner simply said, "Is that Vermont Maple done brewing yet?".  And I just smiled and paused.  I did not ask her if she would brew it, was she going to brew it.  No, I asked her if it was done yet.  Clearly I knew it was not.  I knew she had not even started it as that was not the non-definite agreement she had stated to me earlier.  Amazingly though she said, "I will brew it now", and she turned to grind the Vermont Maple beans.  I swooned over her to make her feel as if the idea was purely hers.  As if she chose to make that pot of coffee that was NOT their scheduled flavor of the day. My friend laughed at what had just occurred.  I told her it was something that happened to me all the time.  There is something I have learned about being confident, kind, and telling instead of asking which, most of the time, gives me the result I desire.  Not in a spoiled-gotta-have-my-own-way manner.  But, in the power of the art of persuading expectations.  Go ahead try it.   

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