When Baby Girl lost her cookies in the middle of Costco last Thursday, I watched the rest of my week go down the drain. Coffee with a friend got cancelled, and I spent the afternoon and evening watching Netflix while holding a moaning 16-month old. While I love snuggling with my kiddos, that was not my idea of a fun workday.
It’s no secret. I’m a planner and have been my entire life. It’s probably the strongest genetic character trait inherited from my mom, because otherwise I’m a lot like my dad: a cockeyed optimist-visionary-entrepreneur who is habitually early. (Yeah, I get all that from him.)
While I freely admit that I don’t usually accomplish everything on my task list, I do a darn good job. That’s why it’s such a struggle when life interrupts my plan and everything flies out the window.
But here’s the kicker: we need to have a plan for when our plans get derailed. Why? Because without a backup plan, we’ll either flounder or become angry—or both.
Acknowledge the derailment
The first step we need to take is to acknowledge that we in fact have been derailed. This seems simple enough. My kiddo was sick. Plans were cancelled. C’est la vie.
Have you ever heard that worn out phrase that about the first step to solving a problem is admitting it? Yeah. It’s a cliché, but most clichés survive because they’re proven.
So step back, take a deep breath, and acknowledge it: things are not going according to plan. Moving on.
Embrace what you can’t change
Honey, there ain’t nothing I can do for a sick baby except snuggle her and give her appropriate amounts of Tylenol. The sooner I accept that, the happier I’ll be.
What is it that you need to embrace? Is it someone else’s personality quirk? Your past? The weather? If we can’t change something, to fight it is just a waste of energy.
Choose your attitude
This past weekend my extended family celebrated our August birthdays and my baby sister announced her engagement. I missed it, due to the presence of the plague in our home.
Was I sad? Sure. Who wouldn’t be?
Did I have a great day anyway? Yes, ma’am. But this was only possible because I’d already done steps one and two, in acknowledging the derailment and embracing my inability to change anything.
Choosing our attitude is work. It’s not fun in the moment. But girlfriend? It makes for a much better day, and days make up weeks and years and…life.
Make a new plan
Yup, you read that right. So your plans got derailed. In the words of Nat King Cole,
Pick yourself up,
Take a deep breath,
Dust yourself off,
And start all over again.
Maybe you just need to shift the timeline of your former plan. If your derailment is of the long term variety, take a moment to brainstorm. While the plan might no longer be valid, what’s your end goal? How can you achieve that?
In the end, there’s no room for wallowing. Keep moving forward, my friend. You’ve got this.