Have you ever found yourself ready to start a big career project and suddenly Life has Other Plans? Frustrating, isn’t it? I used to feel bad or guilty or anxious when I wasn’t honoring the commitment I’d made to myself, even though a Big Life Thing was front and center and needed to be dealt with.
Over time, I’ve come up with three ways to cope when things out of my control derail my career plans.
1. Realize It’s Temporary
This is a big one for me because once I press pause on my creative efforts, it can be difficult to get my mojo going again. So, let’s say you want to start fundraising for a short film and then BAM – a pipe bursts and there’s a horrible flood in your apartment. Of course, you deal with the flood. But once things calm down a bit, look at your calendar and give yourself a deadline to start up your fundraising campaign. The date may have to be adjusted according to how long it actually takes to make your home livable again. But with a date penciled in your calendar, you’ll have something to shoot for and your project won’t get shelved for too long.
2. Keep The Ball Rolling
This is something else I’ve learned from experience. Even though you have to put your project temporarily on hold, you may still be able to squeeze in a little time every week to move one step closer to your goal. Maybe it’s one tiny task a day, or even one a week. If you don’t drop the ball completely, you’ll feel more in control of the situation and it will be that much easier to pick up once the Big Life Thing has been dealt with.
3. Give Yourself A Break
You are already dealing with a Big Life Thing. You don’t need to put extra pressure on yourself! Take some deep breaths and tell yourself you’re taking care of what needs to happen now. Know that you’ve rescheduled your project, and in the meantime you’ll take tiny steps toward your goal whenever the Big Life Thing allows. Give yourself a pat on the back. Life happens, and you are dealing with it like a champ.
That’s how I’ve learned to deal when Life gets in the way of my plans. How do you handle it when unexpected events get in the way of your career plans? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.