Consider how much the words ‘must, should, and ought’ impact and shape your current life.
Do you always do, what you must, should, and ought?
Consider this carefully and take time to respond.

When we do what we ‘must, should, and ought’, we meet with expectation – the expectations of others – such as our family, our boss, and our own – how we think we should be.

Let’s explore if you are willing; does meeting with expectation limit in anyway?
And if so, how?

In meeting with expectation, might a part or aspect of you remain unlived?
Take time to reflect and respond from your own experience.

Imagine now that you have full permission to free yourself from all expectation:
How would you be?
What would you do?
And, what would be different?

The composing of this set of cards emerged because of my own contemplation of this very question. Let me share a little more. One of my major ‘shoulds’ is that I should always work very hard. This was instilled at an early age through observing how my father worked. There were times I recall when my dad remained at work for a full day – a double shift – in a local colliery. Without doubt, I imbibed his work ethic and almost unknowingly began to live by that expectation. And I did for a good portion of my life, believe that all work had to be very hard. However, when I permitted myself to look and live beyond any ‘must, should and ought’ in the same way that I am inviting of you, I realised to my utter surprise that what I would most love to do, what I had quietly longed for all my life, was to photograph the Northern Lights, to become a so-called ‘light seeker’. My adventure extended for a period of 10 years, where I would take time away from my dedication to work, to seek, be marvelled by and photograph the Northern Lights in different parts of the Arctic. This turned out to be one of the best and most important adventures of my life, a deeply meaningful and spiritual exploration and journey. I had no prior expectation of composing a book – Guiding Lights – and producing from the book this set of cards – a Guiding Hand. But this is what creatively emerged when I set myself free from ‘working hard’ and stepped away for a while from always meeting with expectation. In my being willing to go beyond any ‘must, should and ought’, I discovered probably for the first time what I understood to be my essence or soul – this is, who I am, most essentially and naturally.

This photograph is referred to as a corona of the Aurora Borealis. It captures the very moment that the Aurora breaks through into our world and reveals for a second what may be the source of the Lights. A corona is a crown, and indeed this is a remarkable crowning moment, to bear witness to a source of illumination. On capturing this moment, I reflected if we may also have an essence, a soul, and a source of power and potential illumination. Is so, how do we break through to claim and live this discovery?

Of course, there are times were doing what we ‘must, should and ought’ is important, but equally, do not miss the chance that this card invites for you to also consider how you may change and who you may become, when free from the weight of expectation.

Take some time to consider these questions if you are willing:
Do I change when I am free from expectation?
If so, how?
If you do change, how do you change – who do you become?
See if you can describe this person.

For myself, when I am free from expectation, I became a much freer and more liberated person. One is open to enjoying everything more, savouring the moment. And when I committed joyfully to becoming a ‘light seeker’ I moved closer to a deeper sense of fulfilment. This was one of the most meaningful periods of my life to date.

Does this realisation bring us closer to our source and indeed access more of what is vital to our life and our re-source-ful-ness?

Do not be concerned if at first this concept does not feel easy to see yourself beyond expectations. Such a personal contemplation may take time. If needs, be patient and continue your exploration. We are commonly strongly programmed to meet with expectation, so permitting ourselves the chance to explore beyond this prospect may be a very new invitation and the realisation of this opportunity may take a little time.

I do wonder if and when, we go beyond meeting with expectation, we may open more fully to discover our ‘reason for being’. Why you are here now. Discovering what gives your life meaning and purpose.

If we do not set ourselves free, I wonder who will?

Once again this is not to judge or devalue how we may often live life by meeting with expectation. The invitation here is to equally to consider what life might ‘look like’ – be like – feel like – if for a period we were to allow ourselves the chance to live free from expectation.

May you discover who steps forward in you and the person that you become, when you are free of expectation.

May you discover your ‘reason for being’ and consider how you may enable this prospect in others.

May you enable others who seek you for guidance to seize the chance to explore what it means to be free from expectation.


Podcast Version 

Find out more about positive psychology courses and training at 

Share This