Dealing With The Unexpected

Whoa is it cold here! Don’t I live in the south? Certainly doesn’t feel like it…but I suppose comparatively to some parts of the country, it’s downright balmy here. We actually got some a bit of snow in North Carolina, which is on its third day of staying on the ground. So bizarre!

Of course, this meant two very unexpected snow days with no school for my girls – which of course they were beyond excited about. While the bump in our routine was the fun kind, it got me thinking about how we deal with the unexpected–the fun and the not so fun.

The reason unexpected change can be so difficult is because its completely outside our control. Suddenly you’re forced into a new situation where you’re not sure what to do and you’ve had no time to plan. It can be stressful, and that’s why many of us say “I don’t like change.”


But change, even the difficult and unexpected kind, doesn’t have to be feared. Here are 3 tips that I find work for me when all of a sudden something in my life has changed and I have to adapt.

1. Don’t panic, and don’t act quickly.
Of course you’re going to feel some strong emotions when facing unexpected change. But rather than panic, make yourself recognize that these feelings are temporary and will not be your long-term feelings. Be still, and don’t make any quick decisions.

Allow your mind to process things. Unless its an emergency situation you don’t need to make important decisions before you’ve had time to process your initial emotions, so be patient and wait until the first onslaught of emotions have passed.

2. Now, prepare and move forward.
Change catches us by surprise, so it appears bad. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Now that you know change has happened, start preparing for actually dealing with it.

I’ve found that it can be very empowering to go about it by acting as if you were creating the change yourself. If this was all part of your plan, what would you do? How would you do it? This will help clarify things and remove that element of doubt that comes with having to react to the unexpected.

3. Look for the opportunity.
Once you’ve had time to think about and process your situation, look deeper. Instead of viewing unexpected change as a setback or undesirable challenge, re-frame and ask empowering questions like these:

“What else will this allow me to do?”

“Where is the potential value in this new situation?”

“What will it take of me to get around this setback? Who can I become?”

I’m fully confident that even when setbacks happen, they are not forever. How you deal with unexpected changes, however, can set you up for a future of successes. Embrace change, uncertainties and the unexpected as a way to grow.

I won’t lie, I still find dealing with unexpected change a struggle. But the tips above have worked for me, and I would love to hear from you about how you deal with the unexpected so I can have more strategies to use. Email me or comment below to let me know!

And as always, I would love to hear from you if you have any questions or would like to share anything going on in your life right now.

Warm wishes,


{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Bea January 31, 2014, 3:32 pm

    Great tips! I must admit, I am not looking forward to having to put them into practice, but I definitely will, as and when I need to, as they sound realistic, practical and effective. Thank you very much, Joanne! A very good article!

  • Cici February 2, 2014, 12:14 am

    Thank you for writing this. For the most part, I find it to be helpful and constructive advice. However, I must admit that I struggle with this line of thinking when considering my past two IVF cycles. Particularly the second cycle, when we got the very upsetting and unexpected news that our transfer was canceled due to all of our embryos arresting. Tip #3 seems insurmountable in that situation. It is very hard to find anything positive from that situation.

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