We have all had those days, right? Woke up late or ran into traffic on the way to work or maybe even got a flat tire or had a dead battery. How do you cope when things don’t always go according to plan?
“It’s not what happens to you that counts, it’s how you respond to it.” Viktor Frankl
As a project manager, I like plans. I like things happening in an orderly fashion. I like things going as expected.
As a an IT professional, I learned things don’t always go according to plan and you should always have a plan B. Or at least be able to come up with one on short notice.
And as someone who lives with fibromyalgia, I have learned that you have to be flexible because sometimes the fibro-Gods like to rain on our parades and throw a flare our way.
“I love it when a plan comes together.” Hannibal Lecter, The A-Team
Tips for Coping with the Unexpected
Breathe Stressing out about things beyond your control doesn’t help the situation. Yes, you are frustrated or perhaps angry that your plans went awry, but take a deep breath and figure out your next move. Plan B.
Laugh if off There’s really no sense in getting mad or upset. That nail wasn’t supposed to impale itself through two walls of my tire, but it did. On my way to a user conference. On one of the busiest freeways in the state. No need to panic. Or how about the dead battery on a Monday morning, when we had a chef at the office cooking omelets for everyone. No use crying over a few missed eggs.
“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” John Lennon
Ask for Help I am no longer shy about asking for help. In the last several months I have had the nail in the tire and the dead battery on a Monday morning. Thank goodness for roadside assistance! But if I didn’t have that, I would ask my husband, son, or a co-worker to help. I can do a lot of things, but I know my limitations.
Reflect And when it’s all said and done, reflect on the situation. Be grateful things didn’t go horribly wrong. Is there something you could have done differently to prevent the situation in the first place or change how you responded to it? Can you be better prepared in the future? We are all imperfect beings with much to learn every day.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
As a parent/boss/project manager/human, I don’t expect perfection. Some days just showing up and trying your best is half the battle to reaching excellence.
Do you have any other tips for coping with stressful or unexpected situations? I would love to hear them.