Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Using Inner Wisdom When Plans Go Awry

This isn't a post about making things 'okay' when trouble strikes.  This isn't a post about powering through like a bull in a china shop when things aren't going the way you planned or about collapsing into a a ball on the floor when something creates self-doubt, sorrow, detachment or struggle.

Things aren't always going to go as you want, plan or intend.  But what can you do when those plan go awry?

That question is why this post is about realization, acceptance, and action in the face of any or all of these situations, when, for any variety of reasons, you feel like you're at the end of your rope.

This post is about empowering yourself and feeling confidence in who you are and what you want, even when certain aspects of your vision change for whatever reason.  Sure, it's okay to feel sadness, anger, frustration; all that is part of the human experience, but moving beyond that is the other part of it, the more powerful part (if you let it be), the part that occurs when you engage your inner wisdom to address it.

You can't just use your inner wisdom when things are going well.  In fact, I'd argue that being connected to its strength is even more important when disruption occurs.  Believe me on this one; I've been dealing with two major issues this summer on top of a mountain of ongoing things.  So, how do we rely on our inner wisdom in times of stress, anxiety, self-doubt, frustration, anger, and/or sadness?  When our plans go awry?  How do we engage our inner wisdom to help us move forward?

Everything in your life has the power you assign to it.  No one else can give power to anything in your life.  It's your life and you control the power.  So, why would you give more power to a bad relationship than to a good one?  Why would you allow yourself to feel unworthy or be manipulated?  Why would you not find the good in or learn the lesson of a bad situation?  This is how your inner wisdom helps when plans go awry.

If you spend time engaging your inner wisdom when things are going well, it will be there when things are not going so well.  It is where you will find the strength to get out of a bad relationship, stop allowing yourself to be treated without respect, stand up for injustice, and even process personal tragedy.

Let me give you a simple example.  Two days ago, I saw a little girl who lives on my street; she was crying.  When I asked her what was wrong, she said her brother called her a mean name.  So, I said, "What if I call you a name that isn't mean?  Will that make you stop crying?"

She looked at me confused.

"Well," I went on, "What if I call you pretty?  Does that make you want to cry?"

"No," she fought a smile.

"You are pretty.  You know that right?"

"Yes, but..."

I covered her lips with my finger.  "What if I called you smart?  Everyone on the street always says how smart you are.  Are you smart?"

"Yes," the smile was a little harder to hold back.

"What about the dance you did at the block party?  It was good.  You're a good dancer."

She smiled as she wiped her eyes.

"Now, if you know that you are smart and pretty and a good dancer, why would you let one little thing that your brother said, that isn't true, make you so sad?"

She smiled at me, stood up and went back to playing.

As I said it was a simple example, but doesn't this exemplify many situations?  Just substitute the name she was called (or her brother) for whatever tries to make your plans go awry; then put yourself in her shoes and think about how she handled the situation.

Acknowledge the problem for what it is, but keep the majority of your power focused on the positive aspects of who you are and what your inner wisdom tells you.  That is where you will find the strength to realize, accept, and take action to address the problem.

Remember, your plans may experience setbacks and obstacles, but these troubles can be overcome by trusting and empowering your inner wisdom.  Your inner wisdom would not let you give power to negativity.

Practice Engaging Your Inner Wisdom:  There are many ways you can create reminders for yourself of what your inner wisdom is and how it supports you.  Here are two ideas you can try:

1)  While you're making your plans, make a second list of the attributes you possess that will allow you to accomplish them.  This can include not only things directly related to the plans, but also attributes that make you who you are.

2)  Make a collage following the same idea.  Find images related to your plans and that reflect your personal attributes.  Show how those attributes support your plans.

When something causes those plans to go awry, consult your list or collage and let it help you reconnect or stay connected to your inner wisdom so that you can overcome the issue.


  1. Well done! Love the invitation you extended to that little girl. I hope she carries it with her for the rest of her life. She is in control of her own experiences. She gets to choose who speaks into her life.

    I'll be posting a link to this one.

    1. Hi Elaine,
      Thank you so much for the kind words and sharing the link. This is a tough realization for people to make and one that I only recently came to terms with, so I wanted to spread the word. It's very empowering!

  2. What if you made plans with someone, spent all kinds of time and money in the planning, and the other person changes their plans so that all your efforts are for naught?

    1. I'm really sorry to hear that your friend changed his/her plans. It is never easy when we put effort into something and feel like that effort isn't appreciated. I think the best thing you can do is let go of what your friend did and focus on what you did. You planned something that the two of you could enjoy together. I assume that while you were planning it you felt good, happy to be doing something nice for someone. You did the best you could with the aspects that were in your control; let that empower you. You cannot control what another person does. It is unfortunate that s/he decided not to follow through on your plans,but it doesn't take anything away from the positive effort you put into it. From a more practical position, you could invite someone else to go or go by yourself and make the most of it. Your efforts to create an enjoyable experience need not go to waste. That is your choice. Good luck and stay positive.