Professor Pete Alexander

Stress Relief Tool – Minimize Expectations

Learn how to deal with the stress caused when we think we’ve let others down.

All of us like to get things done, and those of us who are achievement-oriented tend to overdeliver whenever possible. We set very high expectations for ourselves and, in the process, pile on the pressure to provide what we promised. But what happens when we don’t deliver? The real problem is expectation: the stress caused when we think we’ve let others down.

Falling short of expectations causes us unhappiness. And it happens over and over, throughout the day. We are constantly doing this to ourselves. This leads to anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, and/or a lack of trust in ourselves—this is the real damage. It hurts everything we want to do, making it more likely that we just give up, because we have limiting beliefs.

The answer is to hold less tightly to our ideals. Become aware of our own and others’ expectations and give yourself permission to ease up on yourself. Remember, you are only human.

If you failed to deliver, let go of the useless guilt and self-criticism. Instead, see what held you back from meeting your intention. Make a deliberate change in your environment so that it won’t keep holding you back. Set another intention, and don’t cling to it. Repeat, over and over.1

To take it one step further, consider redefining your metrics (how you measure success). Do not choose to measure yourself as a rising star or an undiscovered genius, a tragic victim, or dismal failure. Instead, measure yourself by more mundane identities: a student, a partner, a friend, a creator.2 Minimizing expectations this way allows you to be kind to yourself, reducing your stress in the process.



  1. Thrive Global – Mental Resiliency: Letting Go of the Guilt of Not Getting Things Done
  2. Manson, M. – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander

A seasoned professional with over 30 years of Sales and Marketing experience, Pete has battled the negative effects of stress head-on and has developed the LIGHTEN™ stress relief model that motivates his peers to better protect their health and handle challenging situations with grace and success.

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