What To Do When Things Don’t Work Out The Way You Planned

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What do you do when you have well laid out plans that go awry? 
Freak out?  Give up?  Hold a pity party?

Or do you rework the plan and adjust?

Let me tell you, my life has not been as I planned.  Far from it. Yet, I’m here at 48 years young and when I look back on my life so far, I see it as one big adventure.  It’s certainly been a ride.

  • I moved to America at 22 and planned on staying there for 5 years. That turned into 20 years because of a custody agreement.
  • My first husband left me when our daughter was 3 weeks old. (Yep, didn’t see that coming.)
  • I bought a house on my own and was laid off a month later. (Blindsided by that one for sure)
  • Later, I bought a house, the right car, and had a solid job…and was miserable.
  • After I quit my corporate job, I made my living as a photographer and made only $6k a year. (Yup. That’s it. But it was profitable!)
  • I moved home to Australia so that we could spend quality time with my extended family, only to find that they did not care we were even here. (Heartbreaking.)

What did I do?    I changed the damn plan! 

That plan for America?  I made it one big adventure. I saw ALOT more than I imagined.  I had some amazing road trips and discovered a few hidden places in America that I never knew existed.

When my first husband left, I dug deep and soldiered on.  After a brief pity party, I picked myself up and created an amazing life for my daughter and I.  The result? We’ve both grown into strong, independent women who take nothing for granted.

When I bought the house and was laid off, it lit a fire under my ass to find a better job – and fast.  I leveraged my professional network and it paid off in spades.

House, Car, Job?  Oh, the stress! The pressure to ‘keep up with the Jones’ completely did my head in.  The climb up the corporate ladder was so rickety that life was stressful one day to the next.   Rather than die before I made it to 50, I quit, to live a life filled with creativity

Life as a photographer making very little money?  I diversified and became a travel blogger!

That move to Australia?  It gave me the opportunity to take off my rose-coloured glasses and let the past go. Now I’m enjoying the time we have in Sydney and planning amazing things for next year.

move

I love this quote. I have always thought that if you don’t like where you are, change it.

Is that scary?  Of course it is! It’s ‘scare the pants of you’ scary, especially if you are not one to make decisions lightly.

The one thing I’ve learned in my short 48 years is that if you don’t like the direction your life is going, you have the power to change it.  You have a choice.  That choice is yours to make.  If you choose to live your life in front of a television and that’s what will make you happy, then more power to you.  If it’s not, then you have the power to change it.

So how do you do that? 

Firstly, acknowledge what’s happened.

Acknowledge that your well laid out plan didn’t work out.  Understand why things went awry.  Then know that whatever happened, happened.  There’s nothing you can do to change the fact.  There’s no do-over.  Learn and move on.  In my experience, the best laid plans that blow up usually reveal a path that was better than the original.

Things happen.  Here’s a better thought:  Things happen for a reason.

Once you’ve acknowledged and taken stock, it’s time to change the plan.  How? One step at a time.

Gain some clarity. How do you move in the direction you want to go?  What are the first steps you need to take in your new direction?

  • What tools do you need to get there? Is there some training or classes you need?  Then enroll!  Stop waiting!I had a story idea so I started banging it out.  Once I started to think of it as a novel, I knew I needed to get some professional direction.  I enrolled in a writing class and since then, haven’t looked back.  My first novel is now finally finished and it’s better than my original idea. Deeper.  More rounded. Now, my novel is ready to be sent to an editor/publisher.
  • Is time your biggest challenge? We all have that excuse at some point.  Start by writing down where you’re spending your time. Then, assess where you can spend your time more affectively.  What’s more valuable to you?  Watching Netflix or working a step to make your dream life a reality?  (Besides, that’s the great about streaming – you can watch when you have more time or need down time when your brain is full!)
  • “I don’t have the money” is a common reason that can prevent a lot of people pursuing their dreams. I get it. It’s understandable. Again, what’s most valuable to you?  Is happiness worth investing in?  Are you willing to take on another job or some freelance work to make things happen?  Even when I was a single mother with a mortgage, I worked hard at my job so I could advance when opportunities arose. I made sure every penny was spent wisely so I could do fun things with Natalie. It was the start of my savvy (frugal) ways, finding creative – and free – ways to have fun.

If what you want in life seems out of your reach, then take action to make it reachable!  Get out your pad and paper (or computer with an app like Asana installed) and start making a list of next steps.  What do you have to lose?

So what if the path in life changes and life doesn’t work out exactly as you imagined!  That’s what’s great about life.  It’s boring otherwise!  Even after all of the bullshit that’s been thrown at me, I can say that all those obstacles made my life interesting and showed me not only how strong I am, but what I really wanted out of life.

Change your life.  Make it happen.  Life is short.

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