We’ve all heard the adage: man makes plans and God laughs. But how many of us super-planners out there actually take those words seriously? Let’s get real—in the back of my mind I always know that there’s a possibility that life will disrupt my original plans. So inevitably I create a back-up plan(s) just in case the original plan doesn’t unfold accordingly.
Even if you aren’t a recovering super-planner like me, you certainly recognize the importance of setting your sights on a goal and figuring out the steps you need to take to make it happen. We all plan—constantly. You plan what you’re going to do every weekend—even if the plan is to do nothing. We plan vacations and outfits, home decorating projects and parties, how to make it to the end of the day and how to make it to the next level in our careers. In fact, at Launching Legends we have found that when our clients are resistant to creating or executing a plan to achieve one of their goals it’s because they don’t believe the goal is possible. Planning reflects your belief that something will happen.
So where do we draw the line between persistence and surrender? When is it appropriate to dig your heels in, and when is the best time to let go of the plans you made? When holding onto your plan causes you more harm than good, then your persistence has actually become counterproductive. When releasing the plan actually allows you to make progress and move forward—albeit in a way that you weren’t expecting—then it’s time to let go and adjust to the shift.
In February I found out that I would be moving across the country to a place I never imagined living where my husband and I would start new jobs—all while pregnant. Almost nothing was unfolding according to the plans I’d made just months prior. When I decided to keep moving forward as if almost nothing had changed, I ended up frustrated, physically sick and staving off a mild depression. After several weeks my mother asked me a simple question: Why do you keep expecting things to look and feel the way they did before your tide changed? You need to accept your new normal.
If you’re struggling with a change in plans, try asking yourself these questions to figure out your next best step:
To what extent is the change I am experiencing within my control?
How does this shift impact my plans?
What lesson is there to be learned from this unexpected experience?
Given my new circumstances, what is most important to me?
What is there to be lost and gained by sticking to my plans in the midst of these changes?
What is there to be lost and gained by releasing my plans in the midst of these changes?