When Things Don't Go as Planned

Successful leaders see the opportunities in every difficulty rather than the difficulty in every opportunity.
-Reed Markham

Life happens. Plans fall apart. It’s a common theme and no human is immune! Consider if any of the following scenarios ring true with you.

Your perfectly planned trip abroad gets cancelled because of:

  1. inclement weather
  2. political uprisings
  3. your cat came down with bird flu

The job you always dreamed of is handed to someone else because:

  1. your online application didn’t upload properly
  2. you spilled coffee on the interviewer’s lap
  3. you froze up and started showing photos of your cat

The business investment that was a “sure thing” fell apart because:

  1. you failed to file the proper paperwork
  2. your partner ran off with all the seed money
  3. you forgot to buy fire insurance and your cat got into the warehouse fuse box, causing it to burn down

First, you might need to get rid of that pesky cat…. But even in the worst of times, you can choose how you will respond when things don’t go the way you had hoped. Failed plans don’t have to be the end of you!

Stay Flexible

When your outlook on life is rigid, then you don’t have the capacity to bend when the wind blows. This means that a storm will likely break you! In fact, moments of adversity can be filled with opportunities that strengthen you in the long run, if only you can remain flexible. 

Take Note of the Positive Things.

This isn’t exactly a call to “look on the bright side”. But it is a reminder that you have some things in your life to be grateful for. Dwelling on the negative can contaminate everything else in our lives if we aren’t careful. Try to balance out the difficulties with reminders of things in your life that are good.


Really, try to stop taking everything so utterly seriously. Get yourself some laughter therapy by hanging out with funny friends, watching a comedian on television, or reading the joke-a-day calendar. Laughter releases healthy hormones into your body that help to fight stress and keep you bouncing back.


If you’re playing a blame game, you’ll need to get over that before you can really move forward. Whether the disruption to your plans was caused by you or someone else, living a life of forgiveness will free you from the resentment that can lead to your demise. Forgive yourself and others on a regular basis.

Ask for Help.

Sometimes, when things go wrong, you may need to reach out for help. Ask a friend, family member or mentor to lend a hand in whatever way you need. Don’t be afraid to get some help if you need it to get back on the right track. 

Learn. Learn. Learn.

No matter what happens in life, from minor inconveniences to major disasters, something is always waiting to be learned from the experience! Figure out what lessons you can glean so that your pain is not wasted.

Whether your foiled plans were something minor or major, you can always shout “plot twist” and just keep forging on. Remember, the tension and climax are what makes for a good story! If everything in your life went on in a merry way, how boring would that be?  The story of your life may be rife with unplanned events or even failures. But you are resilient, flexible, and you can laugh at anything. 

You’ll be alright, no matter what.

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