When plans don’t go as we expect … resilience

There is a familiar diagram that shows plan vs reality. It shows that we plan for a smooth journey, linear, a to b, start to finish, dream to reality. But the reality of life is that it is a mess of a journey, up down, back, forth, retracing some steps, facing obstacles along the way that we never thought of.

For some of us, the plan is the reality, they think of a plan and it all just happens, move on forward a to b with no obstacles and wonder why people think things are difficult.

Plan vs Reality. Plan is a straight line to finish. Reality is a whole series of challenges, with lots of falls as well as rises.
Plan vs reality.

My life is definitely more on the reality route. Lots of ups and downs. I wont go too much into it, but I will give you an insight into some of my recent struggles.

For a long while now myself and my partner have been discussing the possibility of relocating our lives to North Wales. In early 2019 we decided that the time was right to make it happen, as we started to look into it seriously.

Part of that was around us having to sell our house and find somewhere to live, a major part for me was to find suitable employment. I scoured job boards, LinkedIn, reached out to contacts, several interviews were held. An interview and an assessment centre were attended and a role offered and accepted.

We moved, I had a little time off between jobs, life was all good. Then came an unexpected and unwelcome call. Just before my start date, offer withdrawn. I was unemployed. We had also just offered on our new home, and were mid point of the buying process.

What a total nightmare. I signed on, I restarted and stepped up my job search. Life was fairly bleak. Plans and dreams were crushed. Now at this point I have to say, I have no malice to the organisation that withdrew the offer. It was the right decision for them at that point in time. I would definitely still like to work for them, the opportunity was amazing.

At this time I was low, very low. I am an optimist, I always feel that things happen for a reason, they challenge us . But not this time, I felt the responsibility heavily. This time it isn’t just me affected, it is what should be the start of our new life together, something we had looked forward to for a long long time.

Whenever I am at low points people always tell me how strong and resilient I am and look at some of the things that I have overcome in the past. That is all correct, however the resilience part is what I want to challenge.

Resilience means lots of different things. For me I agree I am resilient. In that I take a blow, I take a challenge, and usually I dig deep and move forward. Formulate a plan, think options, apply myself and move on.

My resilience in this situation was different. It came from another place, as does a lot of my strength. It came from my friends. I spoke to a couple of friends and told them my situation. They helped me see I had overcome things like this before, and that I could again. They helped me to see that my partner would understand and there is no blame. Things I had lost sight of.

At this point I was still low and my outlook was bleak. I applied for hundreds of jobs and heard back from none. I spoke to a lot of people, but nothing that they had was suitable.

I was ridiculously lucky that a friend offered me a job working with them, which gave me purpose and direction. It dragged me from a really low place. Gave a safety net, filled my days, confirmed some skills, gave me new skills, helped me to meet new people.

Other friends checked in with me regularly, some several times a day. They questioned me, inspired me, built me up, made me laugh, stopped me from crying, showed me my worth.

So my point really is that as much I am resilient, and I have over the years displayed much strength and resilience, it doesn’t come all from me. It comes from my amazing network of supportive and caring friends.

As John Donne said, No man is an island.

So have a think, who are your group, who gives you strength and resilience?
Then think to who do I give that support, strength and resilience?

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