Expect the Unexpected

I once heard the adage “You’re never in the room when your career is being decided…for you.”

Sad. Scary. True. Insightful.

One of the greatest learnings I’ve synthesized in my three-decade career is the value that emotional agility and mental flexibility plays in our lives.

We all create expectations in our minds, real or imagined. Based on fact or fiction. Built on evidence or assumptions. And then we make plans and progress accordingly. Many of us then become so entrenched, complacent even, within those expectations that our worlds are rocked when something changes.

Massively disrupted. Violated. Modified. Questioned. Even tweaked a small bit.

Can’t you hear yourself saying, “But that’s not what we agreed to”?

Welcome to life and our new normal—little is based on what we agreed to. Times have changed, forever. For many of us, life is both unrecognizable and unfathomable.

And some of us crash emotionally. We can’t intellectually or emotionally comprehend the change or that what we thought would happen won’t. Ever again.

This relates to every area of our lives including our careers, personal budgets, relationships, and even our marriages. Our religious foundations, interest rates, and how and where we shop, eat, and play are all changing. Significantly. We’ve built expectations in our minds, and when they change or don’t unfold as we imagined, many of us haven’t built or exercised the emotional nimbleness to pivot.

Here’s some advice: going forward, don’t expect anything to be as you thought.

Expect everything to change, and when it doesn’t, you’ll be pleasantly delighted. Anticipate that what you thought was set will move. That most everything you trusted will perhaps be violated. That policies, commitments, and promises will change, often by necessity.

It’s a storm, so put on your best emotional gear.


The best leaders are curious. But they don’t just ask a lot of questions. They ask the right questions—the kind that focus their team’s brainpower on the right problems.

About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as the executive vice president of thought leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company and grew up in Central Florida. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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