In life, you can plan all you want, but you should always be ready for the unexpected. While making a plan is important when you have a major goal or project, we all know that in reality there is no straight path to success - it is an ever-changing roller coaster. I could cite countless examples of career or personal events over my lifetime where this advice came in handy, but instead I want to talk about a client of mine. Recently one of IQMS' customers decided to run a marathon for the second time with his wife.
Much like planning a project, it usually takes months to prepare for a marathon. A good plan for running a marathon is at least 18 weeks of training, with 4 to 5 runs per week, which takes a lot of dedication. Besides the time spent running, this training schedule takes a lot of mental focus because unless you are retired or a professional runner, you obviously have life to deal with daily.
Our client was up for the challenge and had followed his plan religiously. He was feeling great and making the most of his workouts, when during the last few weeks, the unexpected happened - He got injured. Weeks and weeks of training to put him near his goal and then an unexpected injury prevented him from taking the last couple of weeks the way it was planned. The customer needed to listen to his body and make sure that he rested if he planned to make it to the event. Luckily for him, the customer and his wife were able to pull it all together, have a good time and finish the race.
Work can be the same way, where we plan and plan, but the project still takes a turn at the least expected time. How do you handle this on-the-fly change? Do you adapt or try to plow your way through, ignoring what is happening around you? Handling adversity is crucial to being successful and making sure that you accomplish your goal by not taking your eyes off the prize.
If you are like me, I try to address those challenges head first and be stubborn until I find a way to make it work (usually by changing course, but not changing my goals). I would love to hear how you make it through months of preparation only to find out there are problems in your way that need to be addressed.
"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me ... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."