It’s a brand-new year. You have a lot of expectations. But are you open to the unexpected?

If you’re the planning type, it’s that time of year to hunker down and write out something like A Writer’s Business Plan for 2017. There are loads of expectations in there. There are even bullet points and numbered lists of expectations. But what if it doesn’t go according to plan?

In case you’ve never been pregnant, this is the book title I’m toying with: What to Expect When You’re Expecting. An excellent book that all mothers (and fathers) should read when they’re pregnant. It’s basically the bible of preparing to have a baby.

You’ve got your roadmap, your spreadsheets, the forecasts and charts, ideas and plans, competition comparisons, income and cost analysis, partners and business plans.* You’re as ready as can be!

But are you ready for the unexpected?

What to Expect When You're Unexpecting

What to Expect When You’re Unexpecting

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that being open to the unexpected is more important than all of the planning and lists and forecasts and expectations.

“What!?” the planner in you screams. “Are you crazy!?”

Yes, a bit. But let me back up.

Please note that I did not say that you should not plan and not forecast and not strategize and not expect. In fact, you must do all of that to get to the point where you’re allowed to unexpect. Did you catch that?

You need to be doing the work in order to possibly veer off course. You need to be in the game in order to be ready for the unexpected. You need to be training for the marathon in order to reap the side benefits that would not come about were you not training. You can not sit back and wait for the unexpected. It will not come to you on its own.

Now that we have that clear, that you’re doing the work, you have the plan, you’re ready for the expected, we can move to the hard part: expecting the unexpected.

What does this mean? No, like, exactly?

It means that although you have a goal in mind, a destination, that you become the path to such an extent that the destination becomes secondary. I know, this is possibly hard to believe if you’re extremely goal oriented but don’t worry, we’ll get to your goal. But here’s the hard part to understand, especially on January 4 when you’ve just set your goals in stone.

As long as you’re on your path, you’re heading in the direction, if you are not open to variations, if you are not willing to accept change and alteration and even what may seem like big detours, you might not ever reach your goal. You could get bogged down in the minutiae of your specific path. Two steps forward might lead to three steps back. The sand on the hill could get muddy and thick and you might even, gasp, give up.

Expect the Unexpected

If expect is too strong of a word for you, try allow. Allow the unexpected. If your goal is clear, your path is focus and your mind is a maelstrom of clarity and strength, you will embrace the unexpected and see that soon it means one step backward and two steps forward. It might be two steps right when you thought left but it’s then slingshotted five steps left. Need real world examples?

  1. Your goal is to lose weight through jogging and you accidentally are healthier than in years (and you lose weight easily).
  2. You desperately want a book deal but you find that you enjoy being interviewed on podcasts so much that you begin your own–and it earns you a better book deal than you had dreamed of.
  3. Your sights are clear on your new start-up endeavor but your partner steers you into a project of hers that is actually even better, bigger and more lucrative that you would have ever considered on your own.

I know you’re steady on your path. I know you know where you’re heading. If you turn the path into the destination then you’re always on target and you’re living expectations and if you’re open to it, the unexpected is always at your side and propelling you slightly further and faster than you had ever expected.

  • Possible: expect
  • Impossible: unexpect
  • Repossible: expect the unexpected

* You have all of these, right? 😉

It's a brand-new year. You have a lot of expectations. But are you open to the unexpected?

It’s a brand-new year. You have a lot of expectations. But are you open to the unexpected?