How To Stay Flexible When Planning

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This week’s reader question:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Do you feel frustrated when you can’t/do not comply with what was planned?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I used to. My Type-A personality would get very frustrated when my plans went array or when something unexpected happened that forced me to not follow my plans. However, I have learned that maintaining flexibility is absolutely necessary when planning.  A great example of this is my story of moving to D.C. and working with the State Department.  Before applying to the summer internship, my primary goal was to gain experience to become a Regional English Language Foreign Service Officer (RELO).  I studied the requirements for the job. I looked into various programs and pursued what I thought I needed to be on track for becoming that; one of which was as an English Language Fellow. The typical (traditional) pipeline for becoming a RELO.   

Then, my internship was ending. My application for an English Language Fellowship was accepted for an interview.  I interviewed for a potential 10-month fellowship in Kazakhstan. Exciting right? Well, the plot twist was that I was also offered a contract position with the office I was currently doing an internship with; an opportunity I had not considered, thought about, or planned for.  I had a major decision to make.  After thinking it through, I went with the office position and my life changed.  

I met amazing people, worked on programs I believed in and affected change in a way I could have never imagined.  All without having to move around every 10 months. :-)  In short, this opportunity was far better than what I could have imagined or planned for. BUT, my plans had prepared me for this opportunity. They made me equipped and ready to receive it. 

The Pinnacle Planner is created with the monthly themes and layout it has to encourage us to remain teachable (October), stay disciplined (March), and more importantly, to face the unknown with courage (February).  If we can all agree that the best way to learn is through experience, then having a planner that connects your everyday tasks with these principles can make it a bit easier to embrace the unknown.  

The truth is that none of us know it all.  Our plans, however, can guide us to our next checkpoint.  The universe responds to our effort and sometimes gifts us with ideas, friendships, mentors, etc that we have not considered or with growth opportunities that we did not even know we needed in order to elevate to the next level. 

So, the next time you find yourself getting frustrated when your plans don’t unfold the way you want them to. I encourage you to find the lesson in the unexpected change and do not shy away from adjusting to the unknown. 


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