When the Plan Fails

I love the work I get to do. 

I make elaborate plans for my daughter to be cared for and entertained while I work.  Camp, babysitters, playdates, movies, toys... you name it, I've probably done it all in the name of keeping my daughter happy while I do the work I'm called to do.

This week, my plan A and my plan B, failed me.

Camp was a disaster - she hated it.  So I went to the babysitter option.  My first babysitter bailed.  Then, my second.  I was left with a pit of dread in my stomach and the feeling that there wasn't enough of me, or my time, to go around.

First, I worried it.

My plan wasn't going as I had expected.  I don't like these kind of surprises to my schedule and it was clear that my daughter was going to be home with me.  What if she throws a tantrum?  What if I'm distracted and my clients fire me?  I started feeling some resentment and a whole lot of angst about what kind of impact my daughter was going to have on my business.

All or nothing - I'm either following the plan or everything is falling apart.

I mean, thank god I'm a coach. As this all unfolded, I quickly realized I had a choice.  That I was seeing things in black and white and in doing so, I was closing myself off from possibilities.  It was time to throw the damn plan away and find a different way ahead.

A plan is only good until it isn't anymore.

I stopped fighting with the reality that my daughter isn't going to have a babysitter, that maybe this was a way for me to let my daughter shine - to create a new kind of relationship with her that isn't about me 'stealing' time (which is how it felt for years), but about knowing what I need, what my business needs, and what can get chucked so I can give my daughter what she needs, too.

The anti-plan emerged from the rubble of my tightly controlled schedule.

I thought about what I wanted from the week.  To get 3 - 4 hours per day for work.  The rest, I wanted to leave open for Clara and I to play. I wanted Clara to be on board - knowing that by respecting my business time, she will get what she needs and wants: focused time and attention from me.

The anti-plan feels good.  Easy, even.

I contacted my clients and shifted appointments around.  I tightly grouped time I will be live with clients so it wouldn't be spread throughout the day.  I enlisted my husband to spend time with Clara after he gets home so I can address the more mundane admin tasks of my business when Clara is with her Dad or asleep.

Honestly, the week couldn't be shaping up better.  Clara is showing off her 6-year old maturity and respecting the office hours.  She is also enthusiastically enthused when 'business hours' are up - showering me with hugs and kisses and questions about what we are going to do with our time together.

I couldn't have asked for a more graceful recovery to such an epic failure of my planning.

Plans fail all the time.  It's what we do with the failure that matters.

Time and again, when our best laid plans fail, I am reminded of how some of the most amazing wins we will ever have come out of a supposed failure.

One of my clients, who had a GREAT business plan just couldn't make it happen - it wasn't lining up, everything was conspiring against her.  Eventually, she scrapped that plan and went in a completely different, but more authentic, direction.  Doors started opening, things started moving - she was in the flow.  She couldn't believe it.  But I could.  She was willing to scrap the plan that was clearly failing and follow her heart into a whole new place.

Being open to failure can lead to a whole different kind of success.

I am thrilled to be spending the week with my daughter at home and how it's really opened up a new dimension in our relationship.  I love that she gets to experience me putting myself, my business, and of course, her, as priorities.  I love that I get to spend play time with her and play time with my clients and their businesses.

My plan was good - but what is emerging this week is even better.  And I never would have found this new feeling of connection with my daughter had it not been for an epic fail of my best laid plans.

How have your failures led to amazing success?

Namasté to you, business yoginis!


Martine Brennan Aug 17, 2011 03:02pm

This blog is so timely Nona, as I discover that my intuition is leading me in a different direction to the "method" I have been taught in business. I haven't made a complete U-turn yet as I still feel a bit nervous but I am getting there.

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Martine~ I can't wait to see how your anti-plan changes everything!! Brava!!! xoxo

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This topic is very timely for me. I even blogged about the story versus reality pain last week when we so want the perfect story to be true but life is serving up something else. I also learned a hard lesson with this just this week. My take-away from my failure of the plans is to practice detachment and I'm playing with different ways to do that.

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