What to do when things don't go according to plan

So, I keep a little list on my phone of all the random things that pop into my head throughout the week. My blog list.

And as I’ve just sat down at my desk to scroll through the list I deleted one that I have already used. But, like a knobhead, it deleted the entire file instead. (Don’t ask me how. Stuff like that always happens with me and technology. One of the down sides of having a strong energy field 😂 I can’t even wear a watch🤦‍♀️)

So, this week, lets talk about when things don’t go according to plan. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got this big vision of how you want your life to be. Of all the things you want to be, do and have. That’s the big vision. But on a day to day basis we also have a mental list of all the little things we need to be, do and have too.

So when things don’t go according to plan, it can piss you right off.

Now, me losing my blogs is a pretty big deal to be honest. It’s months worth of ideas and insights (Some of them drunken insights too) It helps me help the world and helps people find me. But it actually hasn’t bothered me losing it because one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is the Art of Surrender. It took two life threatening situations and months of bed rest in order for this lesson to sink in to my stubborn, pretty little head.

But what I learned from those very traumatic experiences was that: I am a control freak. I like to micro manage. And when things don’t go according to plan. It stresses me out. BIG TIME.

However, what I also (eventually) learned was that the reason I needed to micro manage was because there had been times in my life (like nearly being raped) where things were massively out of control and it made me afraid. But I react to fear with a fighters response. So when I’m afraid, I get angry. So when things don’t go according to plan, subconsciously, my fight or flight response triggers, I feel agitated, and I get narky. (Nothing like a good old cortisol adrenaline cocktail to shake up your day, is there?)

But, and here’s the biggie: the last time I was stuck in hospital (for 90 days) I came to realise that pushing all the time doesn’t work for me. I work better in Flow.

So I’ve found that life is a much more pleasant experience if we think of our goals as an island. A destination. Somewhere we want to end up. Eventually.

Life is an adventure and there isn’t much fun going directly from A straight to B so I want you to think of yourself as a Captain on an old pirate ship (Go on, I dare ya’ )

You can see your island on the horizon. You know where it is. It’s not going anywhere. It might slip out of view now and again, but it hasn’t disappeared. Right?

Now some people (like before me) would paddle hell bent to go straight forward. And as the tide carried me further away id be like “NOoooo. For fucks sake I need to go this way. Aggggghhhh!” But you know what?

That was the fear talking.

Fear that I wouldn’t make it.

Fear that something bad was going to happen.

Fear that it was all out of control.

Fear because I didn’t know what was coming next.

And that my dears is the crux of the problem.

When things don’t go according to our plan we feel like we’ve lost control. And when we’ve lost control, we feel we’ve become weak and vulnerable.

It’s not a conscious thing. It’s a fight or flight warning bell going off at the wrong time.

And what I didn’t realise, and you probably haven’t either, is that those anxieties can show up in the smallest detail. Running out of milk. The kids being late for school. Not being able to go down the road you always go down or missing your train. (OCD anyone?)

Or even not being able to get your usual brand of coffee and finding yourself hunting round the supermarket like an angry Neanderthal. Fuming.

Because something changed.

And you weren’t expecting it. 

So (for some of us) anxiety kicks in, masked as anger or frustration.

When I was in hospital, I had absolutely no choice but to put my trust in everyone else to keep me and my baby safe. I couldn’t micro manage anything. Instead I had to learn to let go and endure. But from that experience, I learned that actually, we don’t need to sweat the small stuff. Or even the large stuff for that matter. Because change is inevitable.

So eventually I chose to let go of the fear.

And it has to be a conscious choice. Because really, that’s the only thing you can actually change.

The only choice there is really.

Because we are meant to get to our island. It’s just that sometimes where meant to take the scenic route. Because while you’re looking over there you’re not seeing what’s over here.

I know it’s hard to let go. To trust that there is a plan for you.

But my experiences taught me it’s ok for you to go with the flow. Nothing bad will happen. And if it does, you’re a tough cookie right? You know you can deal with it. You’ll adapt and overcome it.

So the next time things don’t go according to plan, take a step back and remember its ok to surrender to fate. The tide might be pulling you a different way, but that’s ok. You’re just going on a detour. Even if it’s something as simple as having to catch a different bus.

Because the minute you let go and surrender to the flow, you’ll stop pushing. And instead you’ll learn to take in the scenery and just happily bob along, enjoying the journey.