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What to do when things don't go as planned

What's your very first reaction when things don't go as planned? 

How do you react when an  investment starts to plummet due to a strange and unforeseen market shift? What do you do when you didn't hit your targets for the quarter? What are your thoughts when a beloved staff member quits unexpectedly?

Depending on your personality, it probably looks like one of the following: 

Do you panic - total flight or fight mode? Does your heart race, your stomach find it's way into your throat at Mach 5?

Do you get angry - do you start blaming everyone and everything around you for your loss of control on the situation? 

Do you lose hope - do you start questioning literally everything about your capabilities, not just in business, but in your entire life? 

Do you acknowledge the change in plan ... and then accept it?

Your success will depend greatly on which of these reactions takes control of your actions. It's one thing to initially feel afraid or angry, but it's another thing to let those emotions dictate where you take your business next. "Not going the way it was planned" doesn't necessarily mean failure, either. It simply means something happened that you weren't prepared for.


No matter what, do what's necessary to stay in a "positive headspace". No situation is permanent! Yes, easier said than done, I know, but owning the fact that the unexpected is to be expected will help you recalibrate to the new situation much faster, and perhaps with less bumps in the road.

If you haven't already, now might be the time to evaluate if there's a chance this change in plan (or a similar change in plan) might occur again in the future. Create contingencies so you have a buffer next time. 

Having trouble "letting go" of the change? That happens. If you can, get help to turn that anger/sadness/confusion into a powerful, motivating force. Talk to a trusted friend, an advisor or a coach to help you find perspective and give you the fuel you need.


Just like a last-minute cancelled flight, there are things that happen in business that are truly out of your control. When scenario's like that arise, the only thing you really can control is your outlook and your attitude.

You can either dwell on the negative or the fact your plan didn't pan out, or you can choose to say "you know what, this was a great life lesson, some of it was unfortunate but now I'm going to make the best of it and get guidance on how to navigate out of it". 


If you're lucky enough to have taken a course in crisis management, you know the first thing not to do is throw any of your team members "under the bus", no matter what the derailment is. If you work alone, that includes not throwing yourself (unfairly) under the bus, either.

Pointing fingers and laying blame does nothing, except demoralize a team who is probably just as stressed out as you are. This is the time to come together more than ever. Present a unified front towards clients and prospects, with dignity and respect towards all involved.

Promise a re-evaluation of the circumstances, the potential outcomes and develop a plan to address the change in course.


Taking action as soon as possible will get you out of your undesirable situation faster. You might be tempted to dwell on it, perhaps even rationalize it as a way to "avoid it next time". Now's the time to lean on your team (if you have one) and pool everyone's strengths. Your team are your allies in every situation, especially when it hits the fan. Surviving any kind of big plan change together will bring you closer and truly make you stronger as a business unit. Don't waste the opportunity to turn something originally negative into something quite positive!


When it comes to your finances, having a meticulous but still flexible plan in place is your best bet against the consistently inconsistent wave of life. Asking for help from trusted family, friends and a good financial advisor can help you navigate life's inevitable redirections.

Give us a call to help you plan for tomorrow's "what if's".

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