What To Do When Your Plans Fail?

I did everything I was supposed to do. I took the time to assess the year that was now coming to a close and I took the time to make a plan and develop a strategy for all that I was hoping to accomplish in the year ahead. I was ready and all that needed to happen was for the clock to turn over to the new year and I would be off to the races. But then reality happened and all my plans fell apart.


As the year was closing I came down with a cold. I was actually grateful as I thought it was perfect timing to get any sickness out of the way before the new year started so I wouldn’t have it deter my best-laid plans. Well, one week turned into two and I finally started feeling better. There was a bit of frustration as I was now a week behind on my best-laid plans but I was still ready and raring to charge ahead. And that’s when I really got sick.

Bronchitis. Strep Throat. And whatever else I am still fighting. January comes to a close in a few days and I am still fighting a wicked cough, dealing with lots of chest congestion and have quite a bit of soreness in my throat and mouth. I am sure you have no interest in hearing about my health realities but I want to paint a clear picture for you.

Reality hits us all. We do the hard work of assessing and planning and right when the starting gate is about to fly open reality happens. Our health falls apart, our finances have to be redirected to the emergency need, our attention has to be shifted to the thing that blew up out of nowhere.

So what do we do when our plans fall apart?

First, let me tell you what we don’t do. We don’t sink into depression. We don’t take this as a sign that we shouldn’t have even pursued this direction in the first place. And we don’t give up and throw our plans out the window.

Here are three things I am doing that I would recommend for you to do when reality happens and your plans fall apart.

1. Assess

What happened? What could I have done differently? Did my plan fail or did something hijack my plan? For me, sickness hijacked my plans. I had plans and goals set and I didn’t hit one. So I hit reset and start from the starting gate a month later. No worries, life happens.

2. Reconfigure

Now that I have had a month of failure to give me insight, is there anything in my plans or goals I need to readjust now before I launch out of my new starting gate? Never waste failure, even if your failure was predominantly out of your control.

3. Launch Again

Most people allow failure to paralyze them and they never get going again. They settle and give up on the dream they envisioned. Don’t settle. Assess, reconfigure and launch again.

Am I disappointed I was sick for a month? Yes! Am I upset that I am thirty days behind my set plan and goals? Yes! But I am going to use that to fuel me forward. And guess what? Life will still happen. There will be other setbacks, different distractions, further failures that will allow me to assess, reconfigure and launch again. And I will be better for it. And the vision I am striving toward will be more successful because of it.

Don’t drown in your failure. Get on top of the wave and ride it to the next waypoint.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.