How Do You Stay on Purpose When Things Don’t Go to Plan?

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When things don’t go to plan.

Last night, Garrett complained about stomach pain just before bed. Two hours later, he was up vomiting. And every two hours after that all throughout the night.

He caught the incredibly contagious stomach bug that seems to be moving its way through my entire family.

For the first time in his career, he’s taking a sick day—which, of course, changes the flow of my entire day too. I’m already a little behind on everything today.

And I started to think about plans. We love to make them. There’s nothing I love more than big whiteboards and spreadsheets and all types of planning. Imagining the perfect way to expand my work. Imagining the perfect way to plan a wedding. Imagining the perfect vacation.

And then life inevitably happens. And we have to react in the moment, despite our best-laid plans.

There are so many times in my business when something didn’t sell out the way I expected it to. Or words just didn’t flow the way they usually do. Or I end up getting super busy and don’t have time for the normal stuff I want to do. Or—maybe most of all—money doesn’t come in in quite the same way it’s supposed to.

And I have to figure it out in the moment. I have to juggle writing this post with hand-feeding Roscoe (who occasionally goes on hunger strike) and getting Garrett whatever he needs. It may not be exactly what I planned. But it’s life. A real, living, breathing life. And I’m grateful for all of it.

When things don’t go to plan, that’s when I learn. A lot.

It was years ago, when I put my blood, sweat, and tears into my very first course—a blogging course, and it didn’t sell nearly as abundantly as I expected it to. And I had to sit with the fact that maybe this course wasn’t going to be my salary for the year. And I had to figure out what to do next.

All of that stress and panic and fear that I was a failure and that my plans would never work—well, that led me to waking up in the middle of the night and writing down five words: Discover, Create, Value, Express, and Heal. Five words that ultimately became the basis for the Sacred Circle and Sacred Mastermind—and everything I would create from that point.

It’s in those moments of surrender—pure and utter surrender—that we have to be fully present with what’s in front of us. Not what we wish. Not what we planned for. But the reality. The fact that our bank account is low. The fact that our program isn’t selling. The fact that our relationship is crumbling. The fact that we aren’t doing what we love with our lives.

Maybe even the fact that we’ve got a sick one in the house, and it’s going to throw off our busy day.

And we get to act from that place. Not the place of planning and wishing. The place of reality—right here in the moment. Of accepting the moment as it is and doing something with it.

Facing that bank account. Getting realistic about budgeting. Being honest about our emotions. Re-evaluating how we’re sharing our work. Taking a hard look at the numbers. All of it.

Because, as much as we want to wish and pray and “manifest” our way to perfection, life inevitably happens. And we have to react to it in the present moment. Because that’s the only place where we have our full power. That’s the place where have the most growth. In the present moment.

I’ll never forget the day I was so sick that I could no longer control my bowels and had an accident at work. I ran to the bathroom but didn’t make it in time. And, there I was, an adult who had an accident in a big workplace. Worse, I didn’t even have my phone with me.

I remember shaking in fear. I wished and prayed for a different reality. But this was the one in front of me. So, eventually, I braved up, washed my pants as best I could, snuck out to grab my phone, and snuck back into the bathroom.

I texted the office manager to put an “out of order” sign on the bathroom door and call a cab. I texted a friend to buy me new pants. I texted a colleague to pack my stuff up and leave it outside the door. And I left the experience relatively unscathed.

Would I wish that for myself? Hell no. But I’m sort of glad it happened. Because I learned so much about myself and my strength. I grew so much from that experience. I reacted in the moment in a way I’m proud of.

Life happens. Plans go awry. Sometimes things don’t happen the way we expect them to. But it’s how we react in those moments that really makes up the life we live.

Can we still give ourselves permission to be ourselves, even when it’s not convenient? When things don’t go to plan?

Can I still allow myself to be Successful and Aligned and Zany and Free and Unmistakable and Vulnerable in every moment—independent of any conditions? Even when times are tough?

That’s the making of a really good life. One that is unconditionally me.

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