Change is inevitable! Recently, my wife and I went to New York for my sister in law’s birthday party. Since we live in Los Angeles, we had to get airline tickets, make arrangements for the dog and find a way to the airport. No big deal, we cashed in miles, our children watched the dog and we drove to the airport. If it were only that easy! You have to deal with all the possibilities and some you never thought of!
I learned a long time ago that I am in control of my life. Every so often, I find there are things I have no control over and learned to just deal with it. This was one of those moments! I specifically applied and was approved for a credit card which would pay for our trips. It was one of those airline cards with huge bonus miles award for just spending money! At first, I thought I needed to reach a spending limit which was incorrect. I caught it early enough to reach my goal, but the bank did not see it that way. I ended up calling customer service and spoke to a supervisor who agreed to make a change. Great, it was fixed! Not so fast, they did not credit me with the miles I needed for the trip. Brother in law to the rescue!
We got our tickets and we were scheduled to leave July 3rd. Weather can trump the best laid plans! There were storms moving in from the Midwest and a hurricane moving north, Our simple five and half hour direct flight turned into nightmare! Delays, circling, and even refueling in Cleveland extended our flight to nine and half hours. The good news was we made it because many flights were canceled! Despite the problems, the flight was good. The airline staff was nice and kept us informed. Dealing with change is never fun, but you can deal with it.When you are in the middle of problems or change, it seems as though it takes forever, but it too will end.
The best laid plans can go astray, if you let them. Some of it is luck, some may say good or bad luck. I think we were lucky our flight was not canceled, but there was always another one. When faced with change, particularly the kind that circumstances seem to make, you have to adjust to it. What can you do to make the adjustment easier? I will outline some steps to help you deal with everyday curves we call change,
5 steps to cope with change
- Preparation – Things happen and preparation is the best way to deal with the unexpected. It is similar to having a contingency plan or plan B. It is one of the reasons, you have savings or emergency savings for those planned and unplanned expenditures. I had a contingency plan by allowing sufficient time to get to my destination.
- Face Reality – Whenever you are doing anything, you have plan for changes. Unless you are going to do something immediately, you must plan for changes, particularly beyond your control. I think it is just part of the planning process.
- Change your reaction – Most of us just react to situations rather than attempt to problem solve. You can change you reaction to any situation by just changing your attitude. Problems for some are obstacles for others that are insurmountable and others see them as just challenges. Still others view problems as opportunities. How you view problems will affect whether you succeed or fail.
- Strategy – This is where your problem solving skills play a huge part in how deal with change. You suddenly have to change your plans or goals, you can rely on your problem solving skills to get you through the change.
- Next best answer – When your plans change, you may have to go to a plan B or the next best answer. There is nothing wrong with that! I could not cure the day in my flight, but I made the best of it and I still made my destination. It was better than some of my fellow travelers who missed connections, or events because they had to stay overnight.
Traveling by commercial airlines is tough today with all the security and long lines. It reminded me how plans need to be flexible. It also reminded me how we react to situations or problems either helps or hinders our success. Although there were aspects of my trip which were certainly out of my control, it was how I handled the situation that made it easy or difficult. Whether it is travel plans, saving for retirement, or just setting goals, you need to think how you will handle change.
Photo by: Flickr
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