I work in the unpredictable field of news gathering. If nothing unexpected happens, it’s a slow day, a boring day, an unmotivating day; all the kinds of reactions that are bad news for my business. While that may be the dynamic of what feeds our curiosity, it’s not a great dynamic for other factors of life.

Relationships, finances, education, productivity, and a host of other interpersonal affairs in our present and future, all revolve around this prickly word – “expectations.”

When Brian told me he was writing a book on that subject, I had to smile. It was the kind of topic I expected from him. He’s analytical, intentional, and observant about how life and relationships work. His is a more complex approach to events than simply classifying things into cause and effect. He’s the kind of guy who easily understands the “why” of a situation. If we’d just pick up on the cues of how deeply our activities and responses are seen through our own filter of expectations, we might also have that perception advantage.

I remember watching Brian, at that time a pastor, walk a mother through the funeral planning of the unexpected and accidental death of her young son. Shattered, she was holding nothing but a broken heart, and Brian instinctively knew that even in that desolate place, clear expectations on what would make a fitting goodbye would help more than hurt. Gently he helped her vocalize what she wished she could expect for a funeral. A eulogy? A song? A photo collage? It was a dramatic, pressure-filled revealing of a bewildering path, but unpacking expectations was the only way to understand how to proceed.

Brian’s motivation in writing this book is to help people. I’ve always known him to be a man who thinks about ways to set the world right, and how to make our environments more harmonious. Individually and corporately, he’s seen too much wasted energy spent on disappointments and failed expectations. It seems to be in Brian’s genes to impart to us that there can be a better way. What you hold here in your hands is a tool to accomplish that, ideas to help achieve harmony and positive influence in areas that matter to you most.

The tools Brian gives are practical and needed as we try to navigate the dozens of expectations that emerge in all our daily activities. Brian concludes “We are seeking to find sanity, by correcting fantasy, with reality, through clarity and agreement.” Easy for him to say, easier for us to do once we employ the insights on the pages that follow.

Lorna Dueck, Executive Producer, Listen Up TV,
Commentary Writer, The Globe and Mail, CBC.ca

Foreword from the book:
What Do You Expect?
By Brian Reynolds