How To React When Your Plan Doesn’t Work Perfectly

April 29, 2016By
Life Adapting

Everybody gets punched in the mouth. How you assess your new reality and react will define your success.

Persistency often comes up during a discussion about entrepreneurship.

Successful people often seem to share the trait of persistency. They have a vision for what they want to do in life and they push through no matter what challenges happen upon them along the way.

Last week we looked at how goals without plans are nothing but dreams.

When we look at other people’s lives it can be easy to see only how they are now. When we look at successful people we see the success. We don’t often see what came before it. And even if we do hear a story of struggle we often dismiss it as not really being all that challenging.

But when it comes to our own lives we often see the struggle. We see the obstacles that deter us from reaching our dreams.

As we saw last week, it’s good to have a plan. It’s really pretty necessary to have a plan if you want to reach a goal. If you don’t have at least some kind of plan you’re just going to be flailing around hoping that things will work out the way you want them to.

But a very frustrating part of life is that even if you plan things won’t always follow the steps you’ve laid out.

Everyone Has A Plan

I think this was a Mike Tyson quote:

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.

It’s true.

Think about what it’s like to be punched in the face. You feel the immediacy of the pain, but you’re also really caught off guard and your entire world is thrown off for kilter.

Mike was probably talking about a fight and how he could go into a fight with a plan, but the moment the first punch is landed on his face things can change. He can try to stick to his plan as much as possible, but he’ll have to likely adapt at least a little bit.

The Importance Of Adapting

There is a balance when it comes to a plan.

On one side you do want to stick to your plan no matter what happens. You want to anticipate that challenges will arise. If you anticipate that you’ll face adversity it can be easier to push through and stick with the plan.

In a fight, Mike Tyson probably anticipated some challenges like getting punched when he least expected it. He might not have been able to anticipate the exact circumstances, but he could anticipate something happening. This could allow him to not be taken as off guard and he could stick with the plan.

But there’s also the aspect of adapting.

You can plan all you want, but circumstances often change. You have to figure out how you need to adapt in order to reach your goal. That requires tweaks to the plan.

A few years ago the Denver Broncos signed Peyton Manning, one of the best quarterbacks in the history of football. The plan was for Peyton to lead the team to a Super Bowl win.

After a couple seasons the team had suffered some playoff losses and Manning was becoming a shell of himself. This last year, the team was able to adapt really well. Peyton was not himself. He could barely throw 15 yards downfield.

The team became a defensive powerhouse. They ran the ball well. They adapted.

And they won the Super Bowl.

Everyone on the team had to adapt. Peyton had to adapt his game. Coaches had to adapt. Everyone.

The goal remained the same. The plan was still to play good football, but they realigned some of the pieces of what they were doing.

More Than One Way

There is more than one way to win a Super Bowl. You can do it with a high flying offense, but there are other ways. Denver figured out what pieces it had in place and adjusted to what they had and figured out how those pieces could win a Super Bowl.

It’s good to have a plan in life. It can lead to you achieving your dreams. But you have to be prepared for moments when you are punched in the face.

It doesn’t mean that the goal ends. You can still chase it.

Assess how the challenge has changed your situation. Look at what you still have. Your existing plan may still be the best way to go, but you might also need to adapt. Don’t hang onto the past if it won’t help you move forward and achieve what you want to achieve.

Everybody gets punched in the face in life. The ones that succeed and find happiness are able to adapt and figure out the best plan of attack for their new reality.