Expect the Unexpected: What’s Your Plan B?

By Jay Forte

You have a plan. You did your work, but the results you wanted did not happen because something interrupted it. How do you feel about it? Frustrated? Annoyed? Able to shrug it off and try again?

I, like many people, can easily get upset and shift right into acting like a victim if things don’t go my way (think: “why does this always happen to me?”). Regardless of the situation – a new client that doesn’t materialize because of their budget restriction, a winter storm that delays or cancels my flight, an illness that makes me miss a well needed vacation – I have to remember that it’s just life. Despite your best intentions, there are too many variables in life that are out of your control.

But you can control your response. 

By learning to expect the unexpected, it helps you let life be as it is while you go along for the ride. This approach means you spend less time fighting what life sends you and more time understanding that life is fluid, and as such, you should be as well. Knowing this can help you relax more about life.

True, there are disappointments that happen when life doesn’t go as planned. But can you learn to accept life on life’s terms and to zig and zag as you keep moving forward? Yes. Can you learn to not take things so personally by realizing that you will never control every outside force in life? Absolutely.

By accepting that life’s formula is to expect the unexpected, you can tune in to life differently, be less stressed and less angry. Losing these negative emotions and energy makes life’s experiences more enjoyable because you are more optimistic. This, in turn, presents you with greater opportunities.

This improved outlook can help you see or create a plan B, move there calmly and continue to see life as amazing and remarkable.

I have finally learned to be ready with my Plan B so I can keep moving and not lose my stride when things don’t go as planned. This gives me peace of mind knowing I have other options if the first one doesn’t pan out. I don’t need to have a meltdown; I can sanely and calmly consider what to do next.

Life is not yours to control, but it is yours to engage with, accept and appreciate. Learning to expect the unexpected reminds you that you are not in charge of anything but your response to the events of life. Learn to roll with it, bounce back and expect you will sometimes need a Plan B.

Sometimes the Plan B can actually be better than your original plan.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. Where in life are you rigid and inflexible?
  2. What is one thing you can do today to be more adaptable in those areas?
  3. What event in your life can you develop a Plan B for in order to maintain a calmer and saner approach to life?

Consider reading The Energy Funnel Explained: Catabolic vs. Anabolic

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Catch and Release

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

You smile and nod as your manager critiques a report you completed. You shrug as your teen calls you unfair for limiting internet time on a weekend. You tell yourself it’s no big deal when your friends are invited to a party but there was no invitation for you. You take it all in stride, but you know the frustration is building. Then, suddenly, you blow up over something crazy, like your favorite show has been pre-empted by a special news show. You lose it, crying, swearing and complaining that life isn’t fair.

How – and why – does something so small create such a large reaction?

You, like most of us, catch and keep disappointments and frustrations rather than catching and releasing them. When you keep them, they build up until you reach a breaking point.

Rather than accepting the “straw that broke the camel’s back” mentality and acknowledging that a break down will happen at some point, what if you deal with whatever life throws at you, learn from it, and let it go, rather than catching and keeping it? By doing this, there is little or no build up. There is no reason to go into meltdown.

It does, however, require awareness and it takes practice.

Learn from life

One of the wisest things I learned in all my years is to use everything life sends me as a lesson. What did I do well that I should do again? What didn’t work that I should learn from to make my next moment better?

Using this approach, I can better manage my reaction to life’s events, particularly the frustrations and disappointments. I can deal with it, learn from it and move on.

Life isn’t personal

I remember one time when I was a kid I got a particularly bad haircut (or that is how I remember it). Threatening to lock myself in my room until my hair grew back, my mother calmly asked, “What makes you think anyone is looking at you anyway?” Her point was to not take things so personally. When it rains on the day of your planned barbecue, it isn’t personal – it’s just the weather. When you get sick on the day of your big presentation, it’s not personal – it’s just life.

When we let go of the negative emotions that we add to life’s frustrations, we can see them as the little events they are. This gives us more emotional room to decide what to do next, to catch the wisdom of the moment and release the negative energy so the rest of the day isn’t affected.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. What are you holding on to that you should release?
  2. How can you focus on learning from your frustrations and disappointments as they happen?
  3. What will it be like to be around you as you better manage your disappointments and frustrations?

Catch, learn and release. Gather information, learn from it and let it go. This makes room for the next round of successes, challenges and frustrations that will happen because that is just how life is.

Catch and release instead of catch and keep. Life will be so much better.


Need help getting to catch and release? Consider working with a professional coach.

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