Tag Archive: fail

What to do when your plans go south

Imagine this: you plan for an event – say a workshop. You gather all the materials, secure the venue, the help and all needed resources. You practice and refine what you need to have in place.  Everyone’s committed. Sitters secured. Food ordered.


Everything is set. Then 24 hours before you all show up at the location, the location owner backs out.Now what? Well, whatever happens, guaranteed the result won’t be what you planned.  Those plans went south with the late venue cancellation.


You’ve probably experienced this first-hand.  Along with the gut-sinking disappointment and extreme need to gnash teeth and cry on a trusted friend’s shoulder.What now? Have you noticed that afterwards, looking back, it never seems as catastrophic as it did when it first happened? Life went on. All that planning and preparing that seems totally wasted in the moment ends up being put to good use in a different way. No one gets harmed beyond a minor inconvenience, and may even benefit from the change.  In fact, you might be the only one who notices.


And sometimes, better things happened because of how you responded to the unwanted change. To help you focus on the better possibilities of last-minute changes, here are 3 things to keep in mind for next time:


  1. Always expect the unexpected.  Any professional worth their salt does this; it’s what separates them from the newly trained arrival.  Anyone with training can deal with the every-day. Only a seasoned professional can deal with the unexpected last-minute surprise.

  3. Gain perspective. Most last-minute changes aren’t really earth-shattering. Even if they are, if you’ve done what you could to prepare, in the best way you could, then that’s the only thing that is truly under your control. The rest isn’t. Gaining this perspective helps to minimize pain and re-energize you for what you can do next.

  5. Look for the opportunity. Inside every change is a new opportunity. It might be a new learning, or a new way of doing what you were offering. Adding value and new interest. Sometimes, last-minute change highlights something that we hadn’t seen before that’s always been unnecessary. I had an aunt – fantastic cook – who always cut off the ends of a ham before baking it. Assuming this did something to enhance the flavor, I finally asked her why she did it. She thought about it and admitted she did it because he mother had.  As it happened, her Mom was there, and when asked, said it was because she only had one baking dish, and the hams were generally too big for it. So she cut them down at each end.

Life can be filled with adventure, if we let it. And adventure is always about venturing into unknown territory and learning from it. Seeing unwanted surprises as a kind of adventure can help to minimize the disappointment and get us going again soon after.

Saved by last-minute changes

Quote of the Week
Life is full of screwups. You’re supposed to fail sometimes. It’s a required part of the human existance. ― Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride

At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .



What could you do if you weren’t afraid?

If you weren’t afraid of facing a possible hostile audience, of missing out, of falling on your face … if you weren’t afraid of failing at something big for you, what would that change for you – or even open up for you? Marie Forleo brought this up on her weekly blog, challenging her audience to look at what they are specifically afraid of and what they could do if that fear didn’t exist.

Fear can be our greatest ally. Fear is painful – I mean actually painful.  Not like touching a hot stove, but almost like that! It can paralyze us.  And the more afraid we are, the worse it is.  Pain tells us that we need to change something we’re doing. Without feeling pain, we’d simply keep doing what we were doing.  Diabetics know this – after a time they lose the ability to feel pain in their extremities, and can get a serious infection, oblivious to it until it’s too late to save that toe or other body part.

Fear is like pain that way – it alerts us to something we’re doing that’s not good for us, and that we need to do something about.  It might be something we need to fear, but most often it’s something we’re afraid of for emotional reasons – like being afraid to fail.  This kind of fear tells us something like: I might fail at this and all will be lost!
If this happens to you, try this next time:

  • Imagine that your worst fear comes true, and you really do fail.  Then ask yourself if it really is the end of everything, or if it’s simply a setback.  Notice how you feel when you imagine this.  For me, I have this weight falling from my heart into my stomach; I can’t talk; I feel small and hopeless.
  • Now, imagine that you do it anyway, knowing that you have a lot of people rooting for you, knowing that you have what you need to do well.  Really imagine that, and feel it fully.  For me, I feel expansive, warm, excited and interested, wanting to get going – enjoying the moment and the connection.
  • In reality, what will happen will happen! But it’s more likely to be a positive experience – even if you fail – gong into it feeling expansive and excited than small and hopeless.

The truth is that nothing worth achieving is easy, and that it will always include failing a lot first. The best thing we can do when we fail (and we will fail) is being open enough to see what might have gone wrong, make adjustments, and try again. Every time we fail in this way, we are that much closer to succeeding.

Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

If you weren’t afraid …

Quote of the Week
There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.
― John Lennon

At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co