Have you noticed that things don’t always go as planned? Our Thanksgiving plans were upended by two precious grandbabies with high fevers. Upon hearing this news, I heard my daddy’s voice in my head, as I often do, saying, “You’ve got to learn to roll with the punches.”
My father spent some years boxing while in the Army Air Corps, but beyond that, he knew, from experience, that life doesn’t always go as planned and learning to side-step around the unexpected, adapt, and move to Plan B is crucial to forward motion.
Following are suggestions for learning to roll with Plan B:
Don’t Waste Time Lamenting
When it was obvious our Thanksgiving plans had to change, we could have chosen to whine and moan. Instead, we immediately looked for an alternate day and time to fit everyone’s schedules, and worked toward restructuring how that could happen.
When it’s obvious something isn’t going to work out as you planned, lamenting is a time-waster. Agonizing over what was supposed to happen, but didn’t, throws you in look-back mode and locks you in regret. Formulating Plan B places your focus ahead instead of behind, engages your creativity, and helps you gain perspective.
Let Go of Perfectionism
Many times we struggle with changing to a different plan because perfectionism has us in a choke hold. Perfectionism says something different can never be as good. That’s a lie generated by the need for control. For many, control equals stability, and when a glitch threatens control, an alternate plan feels like less than.
While our Thanksgiving gathering was different than I had envisioned, I was the only one who knew the differences and everyone enjoyed the evening. Often, it’s the same in other scenarios. Remember, your level of perfectionism is only important to you.
See the Benefits in a Different Plan
While I was sorry our grandchildren were sick and our plan for Thanksgiving had to change, I breathed a little sigh of relief and exhaustion. We hosted friends for dinner at our house a few days before, and the days following were busy. Now, suddenly, I could gear down from full tilt to a calmer pace for a few days before our family gathering.
Often we overlook the benefits in a change because we’re so focused on the frustration of things not happening as planned. But change has benefits. Look for and enjoy them.
Roll with It
Occasionally, I’ve had editors send articles back for a rewrite. The challenge in that is acknowledging that the first try didn’t meet the mark, and then, trying to re-craft what you felt was your best work.
Life often hands us a similar scenario—times when we’re flattened by what we take as a series of knockout punches. Often, more than one unexpected difficult circumstance hammers with a one-two punch. Learning to roll sideways, take a few minutes in a neutral corner to assess the situation and regroup, and then come back with renewed determination is crucial to moving forward when life doesn’t go as planned. Flexibility is a key component in embracing Plan B.
Hold on to Joy
People, events, and change can rob you of joy, if you allow them to, but joy isn’t contingent on perfectly executed plans, or a time frame of our choosing. Joy is deeper than surface circumstances and is cultivated by recognizing blessings, expressing gratitude, and seeking an ever-deepening relationship with God. When you can look beyond life’s hard knocks, embrace the positive aspects of change, and trust God for next steps, you’ve learned the secret of rolling with the punches.
“My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure.” James 1:2-3 GNT
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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