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Change: That wasn’t part of my plan!

As we are continuing to adapt and adjust to change, one of the most frustrating aspects of change is when we have a plan and that plan gets interrupted, changed or completely revised. My mom recently gave my daughter an old Weekly Reader book “Frog and Toad Together” and the first story is about Toad making a list of what he wants to do and then happily crosses out each item on his list until the wind catches his list and blows it away. His friend, Frog, says, “Let’s chase after the list” to which Toad replies, “But I can’t! Chasing after the list wasn’t on my list!” 🙂 When we are leading coalitions, partnerships or teams, we like to have a plan and then move “forward” implementing that plan. Although a plan can be a guide, sometimes, we have to practice flexibility and make adjustments in order to continue to move forward together. Join me this week as we discuss three ways to adapt and adjust when our plans change (and we don’t really want them to!).

  1. Practice breathing. I always hated it when my mom suggested taking “10 deep breaths” when I was upset, but as usual, she was right! When our plans change and we become disappointed or frustrated, pausing to take a few deep breaths can help us find some “calm” in the midst of our struggle. When we take the time to breath, our minds can become more clear and we can make adjustments more easily.
  2. Write down what you are thinking. When plans change and you are interrupted, surprised, frustrated, or overwhelmed, one of the best ways to begin to adjust is to write it all down. Use a notebook, whiteboard or something tangible and try to write down all of your thoughts and “lists.”  Once you do this, you can start to prioritize, adjust and consider new alternatives. You can also become clear on what is essential vs. what is “nice to have.” 
  3. Ask for help. Once you have written everything down, you can be more clear about ways that other people can help. Last week’s post was all about the importance of asking for help. As your plans change, you may realize that you need help in order to accomplish what you thought you could do on your own. You may also realize that you need to adjust timelines and need help with making those adjustments. You may also need different types of help. For instance, one of the first ways I ask for help is to pray. I ask for Jesus to help me, to be with me and to give me wisdom in how to make adjustments. Then, I go to those around me and ask for help to make adjustments to the plans that have changed.

So what about you? What is one of the first things you do when plans change?

If you missed my Facebook Live on this post, check it out here!

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

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