Ahh, plans. They’re good to have, because they give structure to a dream (and your life in general, for that matter) and give you measurable steps to work on. Great! Without measurable goals, how do we know that we’re making progress at all? They help keep you motivated, and break things down into manageable steps, which are easier to complete without driving you batty. For more information on planning, click here.
But we all know what can and frequently does happen to plans. You get 2 steps in, and something unexpected pops up that interferes and changes the whole game. Or a new opportunity arises that may lead to something better than where your plan goes. Or everything may be going according to plan, but the end result of the plan starts looking less appealing.
Most people get anxious when things stop going as planned. We derive comfort from having stable lives with little variation, it feels safe and secure. Well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but following your big dreams means that sometimes oftentimes, plans will fall through. And you know something? That’s okay.
In the end, the moments that will make you most proud on your winding road to success won’t be where everything went off without a hitch, it’ll be where you had to make an abrupt left turn off the highway onto some tiny little dirt track that doesn’t even exist according to your old, outdated GPS, yet you manage to make it work out in the end anyhow.
As my father might say, adversity builds character. You learn more, grow more, and are more present and alive when facing these kind of challenges. But that doesn’t make these moments easy. When it all blows up in your face, fear and uncertainty rule. At this point, many people might turn away from their dreams, head back to familiar streets where the directions and destination are clear and the traffic, while busy, means that at least you won’t be alone. No, you won’t be alone by yourself. Instead, you’ll be alone among thousands, and back to square one thinking again that there must be more to life than this.
Instead of turning around, take a good look at where you are. The fear can be overcome to a good extent. Once that is taken care of, it’s question time. What caused your plan to backfire? If it was an error that you had control over, acknowledge that no one is perfect, but take responsibility for your actions and learn from the mistake before moving on.
Harder to swallow are blow ups that are the result of forces outside of your control, and the truth is, there are many things that we can’t control or predict. When something like this happens, our first response may be to curse our bad luck, and get mad that the world didn’t conspire in our favor. Don’t we deserve this after all that hard work? But looking at it from an attitude of entitlement isn’t going to get you closer to your goal. This kind of negativity leads to procrastination, wallowing, and ruts – not a good platform from which to launch the next plan of attack. And that’s the key when you find yourself in this sort of dilemma, push through and keep going.
We may not be able to control a lot of things in our lives, but one thing you can always control is how you respond to a situation. So when life hands you the proverbial lemon, make lemonade. Instead of getting mad, brainstorm 10 things you could do to get your plan back on track. And then get started doing them. Right now. No one said this would be easy, but it is worth it. Put your time to good use, get up, and keep fighting for your dream.
And if some point down the road, if a new path makes itself known, and it seems like it leads to someplace you like better than where you’re heading, don’t be afraid to follow your heart and take it. In our society, quitting is seen in a very negative context. The way I see it, if something is no longer enriching your life, it’s okay to drop it. In fact, it’s imperative to do so, because that will free up more time, energy, and other resources to do the things that do move you.
When in your life have you encountered an unexpected problem with a plan you had? What did you do to get around the problem?
Image courtesy of Shoes on Wires