When Change Happens... Finding Personal Success When Plans Fail


One thing I've learned from being a traveling musician is to plan for plans to change. This lifestyle is very unpredictable and offers little routine beyond this loose protocol:

Image by Glenn Carstens-Peters via Unsplash
Step 1: Prepare for show.
Step 2: Perform show.
Step 3: Recuperate from show.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-4.

That's how it goes, Folks, and that's how it's gone for the past several weeks. I managed to sleep, eat, and think between steps, but every time I thought I'd actually have some spare time, something new would come up. It's fun, crazy, and sometimes stressful, but it's a good life and I can't think of anything I'd rather do right now. There's really nothing predictable about it though, because anything from the weather to vehicle problems can mean a complete change of plans, and sometimes even canceling plans altogether.

You know what though? It's okay for plans to change sometimes. Maybe it's even good. I'm a detail oriented person and I love organization, but I'm learning that it's okay to relax a little more and go with the flow. That makes it a lot easier to enjoy what I'm doing than when I'm caught up in trying to perfectly execute a plan. Let me give you a personal example of this:

I planned several months ago to begin writing and publishing a weekly article on this blog, and I did just that. Some weeks that meant writing and editing until well after midnight, and once until 3AM, but I stuck to it and was consistently successful. However, needless to say, that pattern was not sustainable. I really enjoy writing, but when I barely have time to think during the day, I don't exactly have the presence of mind to do it in the middle of the night. My plan had to change.

"Life isn't about making or succeeding in plans,
it's about accomplishing what's important
            even when plans change."

I decided that if I wanted to continue to enjoy writing (and my band to continue tolerating me) then I needed to relax a little. If I write when I actually have time, instead of just forcing myself to do it whenever I can squeeze it in, then I can write better, enjoy it more, and be more committed to my band the rest of the time. Changing my plan didn't mean I failed at writing, or that I buckled under pressure, it just meant adapting to my circumstances to guarantee the success and quality of my efforts.

That's actually really good! I've been spending more time with my harmonicas, friends and family, and most importantly with God. Since these are the priorities in my life, they also need to be priorities in my schedule - especially when my time is limited! It's important to not get so caught up in little plans and details that we forget about the big picture.

A great reminder of that is in Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." God has a great plan for each of our lives; a plan for our good and His glory. These verses remind me to stop depending entirely on my mental reasoning and trust in his plan, even when it doesn't quite make sense to me. When I do this, he faithfully directs my path - not always where I expect or feel comfortable, but always where I need to be.

Earlier this week I slept in my own bed for the second time this year. I can definitely say it's nice to be home, but life at home is already just as hectic and unpredictable as it was on the road. That's okay though. I'm learning that life isn't about making or succeeding in plans, it's about accomplishing what's important even when plans change.

The name of the game is Adapting. Sometimes things will happen to interrupt or maybe completely ruin your original plan, but don't let that stress you out or discourage you. When a plan fails, just change the plan and find new ways to do what needs to be done. In my Pearlspective, that's a recipe for success!

Comments

  1. I absolutely love this post, Pearl. This has been a huge struggle for the past four months...even, perhaps, the past four years or so. Your post helped me put this crazy singing life into perspective—er, Pearlspective?—and encouraged me to discover the balance betweens plans (aka wishful thinking) and real life. And it was so nice hear that I am not alone in this area! I turned that quote ("Life isn't about plans...") into one of my laptop wallpapers, because I need that little reminder throughout the day.

    Thanks for the encouragement! Keep up the awesome blog posts—when you have time! :)

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