There are going to be moments where things just don’t go to plan, but it’s just a part of life. We need to adapt to unexpected situations and use them to anticipate future events.
I am sitting writing today’s blog post in a workman’s cafe in Tolesbury soaking wet, enjoying a toastie made with packet cheese and waiting for my car to be fixed. If you had asked me this time last week where I would be on this day, I would have told you that I would be in Las Vegas, most likely out of money, ready for a day of sun and sights. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my trip due to an unexpected family crisis.
If you would have asked me what I was going to do with my life 10 years ago, I’d have told you that I was going to be a chef. Here I am, working as a PR Executive. What went wrong? I couldn’t make the perfect meringue peak. At the time I questioned why it didn’t go to plan, why I couldn’t have what I wanted, was I not good enough? I suppose I could have persevered with discipline until I became the next Gordon Ramsey. I soon came to realise that all that stress and worry was worthless and that plans change for a reason.
From working in PR, I have seen many businesses that have had to adapt their plan in the face of unexpected crisis. I have also seen businesses that have failed to adapt to a crisis and have instead invested too much time into ‘fixing’ it.
Similarly; as individuals, we seem to focus too much on the things that don’t go to plan. We over analyse situations and use hindsight to address our problems. This is what we should have done, why didn’t we do that? Don’t get me wrong, the analysis is very important; but I think we use it in the wrong way. We allow our analysis to weaken us and make us feel frustrated.
Ultimately, this makes us scared to plan. What’s the point of having an idea of what I want to do? Why should we have a business plan when it needs to be changed every month? Surely it would be better if we didn’t get our hopes up and book another holiday?
What we should be doing is using change to strengthen our future plans. Instead of giving up on planning altogether, learn from each challenge and use it to guide us in future events. You can’t change something that has happened but you can use that to help anticipate where things might not go to plan. It is impossible to anticipate everything. Some challenges will catch you off guard, but by simply understanding that not everything goes to plan, you can make yourself more adaptive in these situations.