Google’s Lesson on Dreams vs. Expectations

Dream, do, detach. Sarah Ban Breathnach

Google lost about $13 billion worth of value on Thursday evening.

Why? — you ask.

Wasn't its income up 28% over the past year?


Isn't that pretty impressive? I mean, I'd like to see my income increase by 28% in twelve months.

It is impressive.

But….everyone expected income to go up by 29%.

What? People dumped GOOG because its income was 1% shy of expectations?


A bit extreme isn't it?

Or is it?

If we dump a stock because it falls short of our expectations — even though the actual outcome is impressive — won't we also dump a dream?

Sarah Ban Breathnach writes, “Expectations are the emotional investment that our ego makes in a particular outcome. When we use expectations to measure a dream's success, we tie stones around our soul. Dreams [may] call for a leap of faith, a trusting that [Providence] will be our net, but they set our soal soaring.”

Two years into pursuing a different dream, I continue to believe what I scribbled in the margin of Breathnach's book Simple Abundance — [relinquishing expectations] could transform things — but isn't it difficult not to expect, become attached even, to specific outcomes?

Certainly the Google shareholders were.

How do we know if “expecting” is eclipsing our “dreaming?”

When we spend time with our children, are we disappointed because they didn't want to read books with us? Or are we happy because, in letting them decide what we're going to do, we are 15 minutes closer to our dream of an enduring relationship with our children?

Whether our dream is to paint, write a book, produce a film, start a business, have we become attached to a specific outcome, an outcome that we have no control over (e.g. how others receive what we do?) or are we pursuing this dream because it's an imperative for us — and we're willing to let Providence do the rest?

So, so, hard, but we'll get there.

Repeat after me (you too Google shareholders!)

Expectorate expectations.

And in Breathnach's words, “Dream, do, detach.”

Contact Us

Fill out this form and we will follow up to create a customized plan to help you build a smart growth organization.

Media & Press Inquiries

including requesting Whitney as a guest on your podcast

Media & Press Inquiries arrow_forward

Gain insight into growth, adaptability and agility

Download our free resources outlining the Accelerants of Growth—including books, podcasts and TEDtalks to help you move up your S Curve of Learning.