10 tips for when life doesn't go as you had planned

  • 28 July 2015
  • Angela Miccio-Harris

“We all have problems. The way we solve them makes us different.”–Author unknown. Now isn’t that the truth! 

It’s our response to the problem that has occurred that determines the outcome. Some stories are so small that they can create just a minor bump in our day to day life, while others go deeper. So much so, that they can change the course of our lives.

My story was enough of a bump that it brought me to a bit of a detour with my plans. You think you are heading one way and you have in your mind certain plans on how and when you’ll achieve your goals, which was my case especially being, a recently self-employed coach. I had many plans as to how I would tackle 2015 and grow my business. But that day in February when I got the call from the doctor at 5.30 pm, things changed. I was told I had stage 1 breast cancer. I was surprised, not with the cancer itself that did not really scare me, but the how and why did I get cancer?  That bugged me and I realised certain things needed addressing and so started my detour.

I  ecently came across the goals I had written down for my business for 2015, back in December 2014 which was when I wrote my blog entitled, Will your 2015 be better than your 2014? – the D.A.R.E.  Which made me think of my last five months and how our plans and goals can change unexpectedly.  All this retrospective thinking led me to want to write something for this month’s blog on what to do when life doesn’t go as you had planned. 

10 tips for dealing with setbacks

There are a variety of ways to deal with setbacks and I thought I would give you those that I found extremely helpful in my own journey recently.

1. Take a step back and evaluate—take a good look at it. Ask yourself some necessary questions like how bad is it? How did it occur? Why did it occur? This helps you gain some perspective.

2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger for too long, as it won’t solve it.

3. Realise that there are others out there facing this too. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It may be frustrating and upsetting but stay away from a self-victimising mindset.

4. Process your emotions. Write them down in a private diary.  Talk to someone as you work through the issues but not just anyone and not to too many people. Choose a couple of trusted people. Be careful of negative comments and/or well-meaning advice, which can become overwhelming or leave you feeling worse. Have a regular quiet time/meditation where there will be no interruptions and take time to acknowledge and begin to process your thoughts, your emotions and the reality of the situation.

5. Give yourself a break. If you are stressed out by the problem and if it’s not time sensitive, take some time out. Don’t beat yourself up.

6. Uncover what you are really upset about. You may need to give this some thought. Is what you’re reacting to right now the real problem? Or is it something else deeper in you that’s going on? Perhaps something that’s been triggered by the unexpected situation.

Photo of a woman sitting on a cliff-edge looking at the sunset

7. See it as an obstacle to overcome. Hellen Keller said “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

8. Focus on actionable steps. Identify how it occurred if this is going to be beneficial, gain knowledge about the issue that’s arisen. What can you do to salvage the situation? How can you ensure there is no repeat.

9. Pick out the learning points from the situation. What did you learn? What can you take away with you from this? Think about how you can use what you’re learnt to move forward.

10. Find something to be grateful and thankful for. Realise the situation could have been worse and that in fact there are a lot of people no doubt that are worse off than you, with possibly no resources or methods for improvement. Looking for things to be thankful for shifts your focus from the negative to the positive. Count your blessings!

I am confident that when we go through life changing experiences, no matter what it is, there will be something to gain from it, depending on our response and how we deal with it. We will have walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more lessons to draw on in the future and hopefully some extra tools to help others who may find themselves in similar circumstances.

About Angela Miccio-Harris

Angela is Speaker& Coach. Passionate about helping busy, motivated people who wish to live their best Life Now! with changes that lasts around actions or mindsets that last. She is strategic and goal focused with a range of tools in her toolbox that she can pull from. So you get things in place gain insight and are moving ahead, creating greater joy and satisfaction instead of staying stuck or frustrated with your life, well-being, finances or work. She is a Results Certified BBC Coach from the Neuroleadership Group and a qualified member of the International Coaching Federation. Take advantage of the wealth of experience she has to offer with her Complimentary 30 minute “discovery session” at www.angelamiccio-harris.co.nz email angela@thekingdomcentre.co.nz She works with clients throughout New Zealand via Skype or face to face.

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