We've all been there. We have a specific time in our heads for when we are going to focus on a certain activity or plan. We have visualised how we will use our time and all the great outcomes we hope to achieve... We may even have a clear plan in place for the activity - what we will focus on each day... We're excited about all we will achieve and we feel ready to tackle things head on... but then something derails us, right at the start.
For me it was mid-September into October - the new school term, my youngest starting school meaning Mondays and Fridays were suddenly mine again (he was in nursery the rest of the working week previously), two whole extra days (sort of once you have accounted for getting home from the school run at 9:15am and leaving for school pick up again at 2:45pm, but that's another blog!) to spend focussed on coaching activity! I had some calls and meetings already booked in, some networking events to attend that previously would have not been possible and even a couple of well deserved coffees thrown in for good measure! I had a view of what I would be doing on each day with some clear goals that felt really achievable by the end of the month....
So what could have gone wrong with such a great plan I was motivated to execute and reap the rewards of?! A catalogue of small things that, all stacked up together have thrown a spanner in the works. Some out of my control - Leo's school start date being the latest out of every child I know that's ever started school; four bouts of illness across both children (who, incidentally, have been fit as fiddles for about a year - its like they somehow know the worst time to get sick!); a networking event being cancelled due to limited interest (clearly wouldn't have been a great use of time anyway!)... Some totally in my control - inviting people over to stay on days I had planned some other activity accidentally; signing up to do an online marketing course that I hadn't realised fell on a week that was the worst possible week to attempt (read the small print people!!!), committing time to things voluntarily as I got carried away with knowing I would be around Mondays and Fridays, so found myself saying yes too much - basically biting off more than I can chew.
Now you may be reading this thinking "This woman's a Career Coach - she doesn't sound like she's exactly got her sh!t together"! The point is we all have times when things just derail. One of those things alone, or even a couple of them - self-inflicted or not - would not have stopped me achieving my goals in September. All of them together did... Or did they?
In my mind, actually, no - they haven't. Why? Because I have done exactly what I would suggest any of my clients should do. Recalibrate and reset the goals. I've been told before this is cheating. I find that weird - who am I cheating? Myself? I don't feel that way as not meeting the goals has not been as a result of just not doing the work, but due to unforeseen circumstances in the main. Therefore, if I didn't reset my goals I would feel like I failed. Instead, as my eldest son was clearly going to be in no fit state to go to school again today, and I was on hold for what felt like 12 hours (its was actually 17 minutes) waiting to get him a doctors appointment, I pulled out my plan and amended it to reflect what was actually achievable in view of these set backs. I also checked off the things I have already achieved and, during a slightly quieter moment today, spent five minutes reflecting on these things that have in fact moved me forward, over the last couple of weeks. There was more to celebrate than I would have realised if I had carried on focussing on what I wasn't going to achieve with a plan that was now, given the issues that have cropped up, unrealistic.
I now have a new plan. I've set myself three smaller things to achieve before half term. I can probably do more, but for now, I am happy this will be enough. My plan for post-half term to Christmas may need to ramp up a bit, but, as a lesson learnt,
as I find my new normal of having a new routine with both children at school, I will give myself "wiggle room" to hopefully avoid finding myself in the same spot again.
So what's the point of all of this... mainly just to share things don't always go according to plan for many of us. Also to say, if that is the case, take a step back, reconfigure your plan and reflect and celebrate recent achievements; learn and then move forward. I have ended the day feeling positive and proud of what I have achieved with a realistic plan for the next few weeks. I could have felt deflated, but instead I am excited to push forward with my newly formed achievable goals.
If you need help getting back on track with your plan to get through your career crossroads - or maybe you don't have a plan, so need support working towards a plan, get in touch to see if coaching with me may help. firstname.lastname@example.org