Plan For The Unplanned
24 July 2016
I had just returned from England in the summer of 2016 where I had the privilege of working with a group of leaders to help them understand how to reduce the limiting mental models that restrict their full potential. What was equally fascinating about this particular trip was that I was there when the country held their historic vote resulting in the decision to leave the European Union (EU). Everyone I spoke to before the day of the vote said they expected it to be a close vote.
Our friends in Europe had to prepare for a future that they could not fully anticipate until the votes were tallied. Just as they had to be ready to move forward no matter what the vote dictated, we need to be prepared to lessen the negative impact surrounding major personal changes. Are you prepared for some of the surprises that could occur in your life? Here are a few tips that will help you plan for the unplanned:
Set aside an emergency bank account with three months of your current salary. Keep a separate bank account from all others so that you are less likely to "dip into it." Even if you have ample money tied up in investments, you should still have this account as an easier way to quickly access emergency funds in the unfortunate event that something happens to your employment income.
At least once per year (and preferably more often), set aside time to write down 2-3 likely scenarios of change that might occur given what you know at the time. Consider scenarios that would have a substantial impact on your current life, lifestyle, or options. Write down 1-3 steps you would take to minimize negative impacts should any of the major changes occur.
Prepare to make emotional decisions before you have to make an emotional decision. During a time when your brain is not under a lot of emotional anxiety, write down your 2-3 core values. These are the things that you will not compromise and this should be a short list. This becomes the evaluative criteria for future decisions that you will have to make and the list adds clarity to a highly emotional process.
Feeling overwhelmed in a change situation comes from the emotions associated with the surprise of the change, the cost of the change and a real or perceived sense of loss of control. Take the steps listed above to better prepare you to navigate the inevitable surprises of tomorrow.