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When things don’t go to plan – how to turn “obligation” into celebration 2

OK in part 1, I explained how my plans had to change and how I applied a great attitude from one of my business heroes and fellow dad – Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen fame.

Very briefly – I’d worked all week to line up meetings and phone conferences and projects to work on. My kids needed me to look after them as it was a pupil-free day.

star wars and soccer

I ended up having a fantastic day – we all did –  but mainly because I took steps to handle the change in plan.


I’m the sort of person who usually likes to make a plan and to stick to it – but I am deliberately trying to realise my challenges and cope with change better.

Here’s how you can deal with it when things don’t go to plan – especially if you are like me and you tend to get frustrated and cranky when you work so hard to put things in place.

1. Accept the change.

I’ve learned to accept the change and do the “new thing” with full attention rather than trying to do both.

I understand sometimes you HAVE to do things. In my cases, I  deliberately decided to let things go (for the day anyway).

2. Totally immerse yourself in the new “task”

I decided to be “fully present” – to not have divided attention. To deliberately not be frustrated.

3. I decided to turn the day into a celebration – to make the most of the moment.

This way I  felt like I was controlling (or at least making the most of the change) rather than being a “victim” of the change.

I know in my case it was easy to enjoy having fun with the kids – but there was the frustration of having worked so hard to line up the day.

My son and I even wore our fun shirts (Star Wars). I even found getting out of the business clothes and the business frame of mind made things easier.

I explained to the kids that this was an opportunity to do different things this day.

I decided to “go with the flow” with what the kids wanted to do – even if that involved lots of time  hanging out at the fish pond at the shopping centre.

Usually, I’d get impatient at this “time wasting” – but not today!

fish pond


 4. Ask “what’s good about this change?”

Take the attitude – instead of something being taken away from you – see it as something being given to you.

Instead of looking at what you lost – what have you gained. In this case – not losing a chance to work – but gaining a chance to enjoy a Friday (usually a school day) together.


OK let’s imagine a more serious work  situation. Imagine you have important meetings of activities lined up.

You get called into a meeting to solve a problem.

Instead of resenting being there – try to:

1. accept the change

2. immerse yourself in the new task

3. ask: what’s good about this – how is the meeting helping you learn new things or make things better

4. Now I know it can be hard to “celebrate” a meeting – but you can decide to make the most of this time with the people around you, As Garr Reynolds writes, this (exact) moment will not come again so be in this moment and enjoy what you can.

I certainly enjoyed this day – and so did the kids. We made the most of it! The “obligation” became a celebration,


kids soccer

Here’s a link to Part 1 – that contains a link to Garr’s advice:


Part One



TB LL mosaic

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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.


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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication etc. I like to help people COPE – especially with changes to plans and making the most of changed conditions!




One comment on “When things don’t go to plan – how to turn “obligation” into celebration 2

  1. efangelist
    August 7, 2015

    Reblogged this on How to COPE with work overload and commented:

    This is an earlier post – but a good reminder of how to cope when things don’t go to plan!

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This entry was posted on June 20, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
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