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Expectations Setting to Manage Disappointment and Create a Better Reality with JK Winders

Healthy ways to manage your expectations to avoid disappointment and create a better reality with JK Winders

by | Dec 20, 2021 | Extras | 1 comment

Everyone has a dream life — we envision what we want for Christmas, where we’ll go for summer, or the careers we want to have. Everyone does expectations setting in their lives when they plan, from their hopes for the year to career objectives. Sometimes those goals help us create something wonderful. Other times, not meeting them leads to disappointment.

In this episode, JK Winders discusses how 2021 went for him and the unmet expectations that gave way to a season of healing. He shares his insights on expectations setting, exploring his own experiences on struggling with high standards and disappointments. Lastly, he talks about setting healthy expectations and creating a beautiful life. 

Listen to the episode to nurture your relationship with expectations and deal with disappointment healthily.

About JK Winders

JK Winders is a visual artist, creative director and consultant, documentarian, and avid explorer. Born and raised in Georgia, he has also coexisted in the bustling metropolis of Los Angeles, California, the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and several places in between. 

At his core, he is a storyteller. He uses the mediums of photography, the written word, and design to tell stories. Visit his website to learn more about his portfolio.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
  1. Find out how 2021 didn’t go as JK planned — and yet, it all turned out fine.
  2. Reflect on how you handle disappointment. 
  3. Discover how expectations setting helps you create the life you want to live yourself.


Episode Highlights

[03:52] Christmas For JK

  • JK has been a fan of the Christmas season for his whole life. His mother, an expert decorator, would transform the house into a winter wonderland. 
  • His family had a tradition of unwrapping one gift on Christmas Eve. Every year, he knew that the gift would be pajamas.
  • He would have trouble sleeping due to excitement about Santa’s gifts
  • Throughout the day, they would revel in their Christmas gifts and desserts before gathering at the dining table to talk about goals.

[5:57] Facing Reality

  • Each year, his expectations for Christmas increased until he reached the point where the season no longer lived up to what he thought he wanted.
  • Reality hits JK as Christmas decorations and gifts took a minimalistic and practical approach compared to the previous years.
  • The question, “Are expectations good or bad?” arose after observing the changes in the Christmas atmosphere.

[07:15] How 2021 Went For JK

  • JK started 2021 intending to regain the momentum lost in 2020.
  • However, some expectations weren’t met. Everything felt unstable. 
  • While 2021 wasn’t a bad year, it felt less than expected. 

[09:23] His Ram Trucks Gig

  • He started 2021 in the Southern Utah desert doing some expectations setting for the year.
  • He landed one of the biggest gigs in his photography career — shooting a campaign for Ram Trucks.
  • They sent him a fully stocked 4-wheel drive to capture around the desert for ten days. 
  • JK was eager to create the best campaign Ram Trucks would ever get. However, JK encountered multiple problems that derailed his plans.
  • The photos came out good, but they weren’t as good as he wanted. Looking back, he wishes he had more fun with it.

[11:56] His Short-Lived Trip to the Pacific Northwest

  • By spring, he was feeling parched and dry from the desert.
  • Setting his sights in the Pacific Northwest, he hoped to replenish himself with a change of scenery and planned outdoor excursions with his friends.
  • Unfortunately, a couple of months later, the West had record-breaking temperatures as summer was getting into full swing.
  • Being in an RV in that heat was insufferable and he only lasted one day before he left for South Dakota to escape the heat.

[13:45] Heading to South Dakota

  • Escaping the heat, JK headed to South Dakota, stopping only for gas and to send an apology to his friends for ditching them.
  • He was somewhat optimistic about this unplanned change in trajectory.
  • Shortly after crossing the state line into South Dakota, his RV started to wobble; he found out it was a shredded rear tire.
  • He called up his parents and his dad told him to find a tire shop and get it fixed.
  • At that moment, JK just wanted to take the motorcycle perched on his back trailer and rip it out of there. 

[17:34] A Season of Loneliness

  • JK wondered if these problems happened last year, could he have handled it better?
  • A critical part of growth is realizing that you only experience problems that you can handle.
  • He got a brand new tire and settled for a short stay in South Dakota.
  • In his solitude, he felt lonely, lethargic, and uninspired.

[19:28] A Season of Healing

  • In his loneliness, he reached out to people. 
  • One of his friends invited him to come out to Montana. Upon getting there, his friend let him park his RV in his family’s driveway.
  • He spent four inspiring and nourishing months in Montana.
  • He reconnected with good friends, explored beautiful places, and created the best artwork he’s ever made.
  • JK felt like he was operating on more freedom.

[21:52] Having High Standards

  • The most constant criticism he receives is that he doesn’t set realistic expectations. 
  • It annoys JK that no one gives him an example of healthy expectations setting — they point it out and don’t do anything else.
  • Due to how his parents raised him, he challenges himself with higher standards and doesn’t want to compromise.
  • Maintaining high standards while expectations setting often leads to disappointment.

[23:12] Healthy Ways To Anticipate

  • Setting expectations involves a lot of grace and can put you into a free-flowing, healthier state.
  • Expectations can be positive or negative, met or unmet.
  • While there is beauty in having no goals, it also makes you think about handling disappointment and unmet expectations.
  • Disappointments are part of growth and can teach you what to focus on moving forward.
  • Focusing on expectations might make you lose sight of the present.

[25:48] Looking Forward

  • JK sometimes wonders about the future and forgets to enjoy the present.
  • Your trajectory is a critical part of your journey, whether or not you meet your expectations.
  • JK is expecting nothing unusual about this Christmas: spending quality time with his parents, being in his RV, and having a cheerful season.

[27:46] JK’s Biggest Takeaways From 2021

  • JK pruned many of his branches this year, refining his focus and vision for a better and more realistic future.
  • JK has balanced living in peace for his past, enjoying the present, and being excited about the future.
  • Reconciling his bitterness and disappointment was vital in leaning towards self-improvement. 
  • Despite some decisions he regrets, he believes that he can be better and cultivate a beautiful world within himself.

[29:52] Creating a Beautiful Life

  • When he doesn’t try to work on himself, it leads to sadness and anger.
  • JK tends to project his problems and anger at his loved ones when he can’t handle his negative emotions.
  • Fortunately, he has moments where he recognizes the benefits of his work and remembers how much he loves himself and his life.
  • He can’t change what has happened, but he can still appreciate what he has.
  • Life doesn’t come on a silver platter. Create a beautiful life and commit to it — even if it’s hard. Don’t get trapped in unmet expectations.

    5 Powerful Quotes from this Episode

    [17:34] “That’s a situation that you can’t really or at least don’t want to anticipate. But I also think to myself, ‘If something like that happened last year, could I have handled it any better than I did this year?’”

    [24:53] “There is a definite beauty in that level of depravity. It makes you shake your head, but also makes you think at the same time. How do we deal with unmatched expectations? How do you deal with the disappointments?”

    [25:39] “When you focus on the expectations, you lose sight of the present and where your current footing is.”

    [29:31] “Because I know full well that the world around me is only as beautiful as the world within me and that if I’m not doing the necessary actions to cultivate a beautiful world within, I can’t possibly expect anything better around me.”

    [32:10] “… stop expecting your life to be easily handed over to you as a pretty little gift and start leaning into the idea of creating a life that is beautiful even when it’s hard.”

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