In my previous post I wrote about my transformational experiences during my recent travel to Chili and Argentina. During this trip I got ‘confronted’ with another experience. I learned how expectations can impact our views, ideas and perceptions. And how this impacts your experience.
Next to seeing our daughter again, the core of this trip was to finally experience the beauty of the glaciers in Patagonia. For years I have longed to see these magnificent ice fields. I imagined their vastness, their transparent colours and creaking sound every time I saw their pictures. So my expectation and excitement level were really high when we stepped in the van to go from El Calafate to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field (world’s 4th largest ice field).
However, as you by now may have figured out, my first encounter with the ice was disappointing. “This is by far not what I had seen on television and in pictures …” I thought when I saw the first icebergs and what appeared to me to be just a greyish glacier. I was so disappointed that my perception turned out not to be the reality that I stopped looking with genuine interested. And as a consequence I missed the specific beauty that was there, as my kids expressed to me afterwards.
The next day we were scheduled to visit the Perito Moreno glacier. Having learned from the first day I seriously scaled back my expectation, but not my hope J. And see what happened: the sheer size of this magnificent glacier, with its violet colours, its cracking sounds, but above all it’s amazing beauty made me silent and emotional. I wanted to stay there for hours, just to watch and feel the immenseness. It did remind me about the days I climbed in the Swiss Alps and walked through untouched snow for hours. It also made me realize how important the preservation of our planet is and how little time there is left.
The above experience learned me that sometimes your perceptions and expectations can block your view, thoughts or feelings to such an extent that this can even block your growth. By letting go of your expectations, by being in the moment and by looking at yourself and your environment without any judgement you can create an experience that is stronger, deeper and more rewarding and that ultimately reveals its own beauty. As a personal coach this is a recurring and important theme of my coachees. And helping them to overcome this perception and expectation bias is one of the things that I love in my work.