Let’s face it: things never go exactly according to plan. Whether it’s vacation itineraries, our career, getting the kids to school on time, or that plan to spend some quality time by yourself, things often have a way of getting off course from your original vision.
But I learned something really important recently: What goes wrong is as valuable as what goes right. Let me share my insights with you and, I think you’ll see there really can be a silver lining in things don’t go according to plan.
Unplanned Events = Good Opportunities
When things go wrong it provides valuable opportunities:
- We experience opportunities and connections we might have missed otherwise.
- There may be in pain in things going wrong – but there may also be pleasure – be sure to look for it.
- We can learn from our mistakes, to be better in the future.
- We may experience the “happy accident” where things actually work out better than if they went according to plan.
- And don’t forget the humorous stories and memories you will have.
When things go wrong it’s important to recognize it is all part of your life experience.
- vacation skirmishes
- business flubs
- relationship hurdles
- daily speed bumps
You can count on these things happening on a regular basis. Think about it. You already know this. It’s all part of your “perfect” life.
Guidelines for Handling Unplanned Events
Here are the things to remember:
- They are not mistakes.
- They are not accidents.
- Expect them.
- Embrace them.
- Find the good.
- Find the opportunities.
- Find the humor. (Imagine that you are in a comedy movie)
- Find the learning.
Fix what might need fixing, but do so joyfully knowing this was supposed to happen and that you will learn from it. Be thankful for the opportunity to learn, to laugh, to become stronger, to help another, to slow down, and/or To get off your hamster wheel for a moment.
What’s Your Takeaway?
So on your journey today enjoy the roadblocks, the giant log on your path, the unpredicted snowstorm, the computer crash, and all the other inconveniences big and small that come your way. Remember to keep asking the right questions and you can make the unplanned work in your favor:
- What can I learn from this?
- What opportunities does this afford me?
- Where’s the humor in this?
- What new connections did I gain from this?
- What is the good in this?
- What can I do differently going forward given what I’ve learned?
The idea is not to stop planning in life or to live your life without goals, but rather to embrace the unplanned events as they unfold as much as the ones that go according to plan.
How do you handle life when things go wrong? Do you let it derail you? Have you found a way to stay calm? Would you like to be able to handle it better? If so, what one thing do you think would help you most?
I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below or on Facebook, twitter, G+, or your favorite social media