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I Have a Plan!

Late last week, I had breakfast with a dear friend of more than 20 years to discuss her future. She had recently been let go from her job due to budget constraints, and we were talking about what the next step was in her life.

She said, “When I called you, I thought I was going to ask you for help finding a job, but instead I have a plan.”

I loved it! She went on to share with me the plan she had created to open a non-profit to focus on literacy. If you knew her, this would not surprise you. Her passion for many years has been to help adults further their education. It was amazing the transformation from the time we scheduled our breakfast to when we actually met.

When she and I first emailed back and forth to set up the meeting, I could tell she was down. That was understandable after losing a job, but within a few days, she had turned it around. I started thinking about the cause for the big shift. I realized after talking and watching her, it was based on three things: change of focus, developing a plan, and support. These are three powerful tools we can all use when facing a challenging situation. Let’s take a deeper look at each of them.

Shifting your focus from what is wrong to what is right: It is amazing when you really think about it. Our minds can only think about one thing at a time. I know several of you would argue that you multitask. What you can do is switch back and forth really quickly on several things, but your mind can only focus on one thing at a time.

So let’s go back to Charlotte and her focus. She shifted from worrying about not having a job to what she was going to do next. She took her years of knowledge and education and developed a grant proposal that she believes will work. It wasn’t easy to make the leap, but she decided it was necessary. I have to ask you what you are focusing on. What’s right or what’s wrong with your world?

Creating a plan: The plan gave her purpose and a tangible goal to look forward to. She hadn’t actually started the work she had outlined, but she now had a direction. We need to create plans that excite us and get us ready to move. The plan wasn’t formal with 57 steps to accomplish, but was instead an outline of a direction. The key was that she knew her next step. She knew where she was going and the first baby step she would be taking. That is something we can all do when we are facing our challenges. Create a plan and figure out the first step we need to take.

Gaining support: Finally, she knew she had support. I was just one of the phone calls she made following her bad news. She realized she could not do this alone. She enlisted the support of her family and friends. She has a grown daughter who she immediately started working with to create her new future. She called me for moral support and guidance. I was one of many friends that Charlotte has accumulated over the years. She got in touch with the ones she knew could help her best in these circumstances. Are you hiding in your room, afraid and maybe a little embarrassed to ask for help? Stop being afraid and just pick up that phone. Your friends and family love you and want to help you through. Don’t let your pride get in your way. Ask for help.

I believe the three ideas that my friend unknowingly followed to get her back on track can work for you. It is easier then you think. Shift your focus to good, make a plan, and ask for help!

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