Thursday, February 21, 2008

Making the Most When the Plan Goes Astray

[This is the continuation of the previous blog post]

How easy is it to give up when things don’t go as planned? How easy would it be to call one’s self a failure and hang our head when the results don’t come out the way we had hoped?

Sometimes we plan for what we can’t control and then when reality takes a different path from what we had planned, we are forced to reconsider. Depending on the reality, this reconsideration can seem minute or monumental; still, it’s what we do next that determines if we are willing to let reality get the best of us, or if we’re willing to take it and run with it!

I can remember one of the first times I honestly thought this whole concept out that I’m talking about and how I was determined to not let myself get discouraged when things did not go as I had planned…

I had found myself running for an office position in an organization I was a part of at the time. I was anxiously anticipating the possibilities if I were to be elected by my peers into the position. Oh how I could use the position to reach out to fellow members in the organization! I could get real excited simply thinking about the endless possibilities! Then, when the election had come and gone I was not elected into the position and I knew immediately this would not crush my dreams for reaching out. I will never forget telling myself that same night that I would simply make a pledge to myself to be the best member I believed I could possibly be over that next year. I was determined to reach out to the new joining members in ways I had not in the past. I promised myself that I would make every effort to reach just as many members as I would have had I gotten the office position.

At the end of our next month all together as an organization I was honored as Member of the Month. Too me, this confirmed my promise I had made to myself. I couldn’t have been happier with my willingness to not let reality affect my overall hopes and plans. Do I say this in a boastful manner? No, rather a state of self-evaluation which I believe is crucial for us all to do throughout life. Sure, I had hoped and planned to reach people through the office position, but when that was not the path I was given, I realized that it was still possible for me to do what was my overall plan – that of reaching out to people.

When reality affected how I would reach people some years ago, I was quick to redirect myself and without hesitation or discouragement, willing to storm forward. Unfortunately, we don’t always find ourselves so eager to accept reality and move on. Sometimes we are left in a state of uncertainty when we are faced with the realization that what we had planned isn’t going to be reality. This state of uncertainty can bring about many different feelings within us, not to mention a sense of discouragement. It is then, when we find ourselves discouraged and uncertain that we tend to linger rather than taking off; however, this does not mean that we are not still capable of running with what we’ve now been given.

For me this has happened over the past year. Over a year ago I found myself graduating with my master’s degree in knowing full well in my head what I wanted to do with it. I had it all planned out, and was ready to land that dream job. Sure, that was not going to be the reality in it all, but nonetheless, I continued to look for it. Time passed and I found myself getting discouraged. I remember resenting talking about anything at all related to my job search or even having my degree with one of my best friends because I remember how discouraged I felt when she would ask me each time we’d talk “how’s the search going? My mom has even asked about you and wanted to know if you’d gotten a job in your career yet.” Gosh, not only was my friend pressuring me, but her mom to top it off! Sure, I’ve no doubt that my friend was not trying to make me feel pressured or degraded in any way since months had passed and I still hadn’t gotten a job in my field; yet, I couldn’t help but feel like I was being judged as someone with this second level of education and “still” doing a non-degree oriented occupation. Like I said, heck, even her mother, who I had VERY limited encounters with was wondering when I’d ever get into my field.

I think you can see where I was coming from. I felt discouraged and like my friends (not to mention their families) were rating me based on what I was doing as an occupation. Granted, I realize that is (unfortunately) how our country rates people, but still, it seems more personal when it’s coming from people whose opinion really matters to you.

So months passed, and there was the occasional interview here and there, but still no luck. It seemed if the position wasn’t disqualifying me based on my in ability to speak Spanish, it was because I didn’t have enough years of experience. Then when I’d about given up on looking and was ready to take a break a spot seemed to come to me. I was ecstatic! It was about as close to what I had envisioned and planned myself doing as anything I’d seen yet! Communications between the organization and me seemed to be looking real good. Finally, when it came down to it, and I had crunched and re-crunched the numbers, I had to turn it down because I would not have been able to support myself based on the limited income it was offering. I was crushed! It was as if my last hope had slipped away and I’d remain feeling like I was letting myself down, along with everyone else that continued to ask “why aren’t you using your degree yet?”

Sometimes when we are in the state of taking in the reality and how it has turned out differently than what we had planned, we are just as eager as anything to move on because we don’t like the feelings we find ourselves dealing with while trying to accept the reality. There was no doubt I felt discouraged and uncertain on if my plans of going into my field were any sort of reality for the near future. Because of this, I was lingering as I was trying to deal with the reality of it all. But then the tides would turn, and little did I know, I was about to make another promise to myself…

[To Be Continued]

1 comment:

Dem Soldier said...

"because we don’t like the feelings we find ourselves dealing with while trying to accept the reality."

That's very true. It's human nature, we really rarely accept reality as it's. We all have dreams, things we worked hard for years, but at the end of the day what matters is that, we R happy to what we R doing, rather to what we R missing, even if that includes what we really thought we should had. If that makes a sense...:)