WHEN THINGS DON’T GO AS PLANNED

“The challenges we go through are often the raw materials we need for the solutions to break through.”  Christine Kane

 

I thought I’d take a step back this week and focus on a topic that many of us try to avoid – the fact that things don’t always go as planned.

Whether you’re re-designing your home, traveling or simply spending time with family – this seems to be a fact of life.

And this is what has been on my mind lately, after returning from a rather eventful, five-day trip traversing the country.

During my travels, I’d experienced everything from lost luggage  – not once, but twice! – a boarding pass that wouldn’t print (resulting in a missed flight), unexpected delays and late arrivals.

In some ways, it seemed reminiscent of an earlier trip this year, where I later marveled at how everything seemed to have played out exactly as the universe intended.

However, this was different.

When things don’t go exactly as planned, or expected, and our stress levels go through the roof – at that point we’re dealing with a whole different animal.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be messed up travel plans.

Maybe you’ve hired an architect to build a new home from the ground up, or have embarked on a home remodeling project.

Chances are you’ve run into a few glitches along the way, including unexpected mishaps and delays.

Let’s face it – they are to be expected.

Since delays on any kind of home remodel or design project are usually the norm, it helps to learn how to take things in stride and not fight the inevitable.

Meanwhile – in the interest of helping you maintain your sanity – here are some things you can do for yourself, regardless of the crisis at hand.

 

Acceptance is Key

The first step is Acceptance.

Whatever might have befallen your carefully laid out plans, I encourage you to repeat this mantra – “it is what it is”.

Do this as many times as is necessary.

Unless you’re dealing with something as serious as a death in the family, the situation likely isn’t the end of the world.

At least, that’s what I told myself when I was standing at the Austin airport, realizing my suitcase had remained in another part of the country.

While not exactly delighted about the situation, I also realized that things could be worse.

After all, we had arrived safely.

I had my family with me.

And surely, such material things as a toothbrush or a change of clothes, I knew that I could easily manage without for just one day.

That’s the real message here.

Regardless of the crisis you’re currently dealing with, ask yourself:

  • How bad is it, really?
  • If your project is delayed by a week or two, is that completely unmanageable?
  • What is the worst that could happen?

Knowing that you can’t change what is – that’s the first step toward Acceptance.

 

Be Kind to Yourself

When you feel you’re at your breaking point – rather than give in to your anger and frustration, and feelings of hopelessness – that’s when you need to step away.

It’s now time for some pampering.

Give yourself the luxury of indulging in your favorite foods, or treat yourself to a dinner out or visit to a spa.

Sit back and relax.

Breathe.

Take a hot bath. Sip a cup of tea.

Just do whatever it takes, to decompress and feel more like yourself again.

Exercise is also recommended, but the key here is to go easy on your body. In other words, keep moving, but choose a lighter activity, such as a stroll through your local park.

When your mind and body are already stressed, you don’t need to wear yourself out even more.

You want to do the opposite.

And forget trying to make everything perfect.

When the going gets tough, just take a break. Get out of the house, and go do something fun – either by yourself or with your family.

Chances are, you will come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on the task at hand.

 

Laughter is Good Medicine

When my luggage disappeared for the second time in two days, the situation was so ridiculous, one couldn’t help but laugh.

Was it really that funny?

No.

But that’s my point. If the situation isn’t life threatening, see if you can turn things around mentally and find the humor in it, instead.

The fact that your sofa fabric is suddenly on back-order for eight weeks, or the custom countertop cracked during installation – these aren’t life altering set-backs.

Inconvenient?

Yes!

But sometimes there’s also a hidden gift.

Sometimes, when the unexpected happens, there’s nothing left to do but laugh – and accept that it’s just life happening in the moment.