Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought any variation of the following:
- I should feel more appreciated in my relationship.
- My friends should include me more
- I should be making more money than I am
- This shouldn’t take so long.
- I should have made more progress than this
- This shouldn’t be so hard
Can you spot the common theme here?
It’s not just the word “should,” but good catch grammarians.
The common theme of these thoughts is actually ENTITLEMENT.
More specifically, what I call “results-entitlement.”
Results-entitlement is our tendency to think we are entitled to certain results in our lives.
We think we’re entitled to an amazing relationship with a partner who does exactly what we want them to.
We think we’re entitled to a coaching business that makes six or seven figures.
We think we’re entitled to seeing big changes in our lives on a certain timeline and with a certain amount of work – both of which we’ve arbitrarily chosen in our minds.
Now, you may not *think* that you feel entitled.
Entitlement has a specific association in this day and age, and it’s used to describe certain groups of people in a social and political sense.
I’m also not talking about political entitlements, like whether we should have universal health care.
I’m talking about mental and emotional entitlement, the attitude of sulking or criticizing yourself or shaming yourself or blaming the world because you don’t have what you want. This kind of entitlement has nothing to do with what’s outside of you – it has to do with your own thinking.
That is results-entitlement.
And what does all of this entitled thinking get us? A mental tantrum and self-pity party.
What doesn’t it get us? The results we want.
Not having the result you want doesn’t mean anything about what kind of person you are. It doesn’t mean anything about you.
It simply means the universe doesn’t owe you anything.
Let’s break this down with an example:
Imagine your desired result is to walk to a store that’s two miles away.
Entitlement is stopping after a mile and thinking “I’m done now. The store should be here.” or even “This is too hard. I don’t know how to get to the store!” (No judgment if there are some tears involved – we’ve all been there!)
This example is funny because it’s so clear to us that the store is still another mile away. No amount of wishing, resisting, or crying will bring it any closer – only walking will do that.
But the principle applies to ANY result you’re after in your life.
Did you set a goal for onboarding two clients this month and only manage to onboard one?
Logic would tell us that you’re halfway to your goal and need to just double your work to land another client.
What does results-entitlement tell us?
That you’re bad at business and don’t know what to do, because what “should” have happened didn’t happen.
But just as the store was two miles away, getting two clients takes a certain amount of work.
It seems obvious, right?
Yet we create so much drama around not having what we want. We give up on so many dreams and dissolve into a puddle on the floor because we don’t get the results we think the universe owes us.
If it’s simple math, why do so many of us struggle with this?
Because we have human brains.
I don’t think entitlement is a character flaw. I think we indulge in entitlement in two scenarios:
- When we do not actually care about the result enough to do the work, but we think we should, so we pretend that we do but don’t take the actions it requires.
- When we believe something is impossible for us or that we can’t do it. We act entitled around things we fear we can’t create.
In the first scenario, the solution is being honest with ourselves and doing the work to release the belief that we should want something we don’t.
And what about the second scenario?
That happens when we want to believe our results “should” have happened because we don’t really believe we can make them happen. We underestimate our capacity to persist, to work harder, to cultivate the belief that we will get what we want if we just keep going.
So we take a certain amount of action – we walk a mile, we get one client – and we think that’s the best we can do. We don’t believe we can do what it takes to get two clients. We don’t think we have it in us to walk that second mile. We don’t believe we can figure out how, so instead we pout and sulk and feel entitled.
What if you didn’t believe you were entitled to any result in your life that you haven’t put in the time and effort and belief to earn?
What if all of your dreams ARE possible, but only if you believe they are and act on those beliefs to create the results you dream of?
If you haven’t created your results, you just haven’t fully lived the belief and taken the actions.
And if you decide you don’t want to, that’s ok.
And if you do, just keep doing it.
But either way dropping the entitlement will set you free.