You start out with enthusiasm toward a goal, but circumstances stand up and shout, “Not now, you’ll have to wait!”  The best of ideas can be overruled, criticized, or overlooked.   The immediate letdown drains the passion you began with and quitting looms heavily as an option.  It’s a familiar feeling we have all experienced, and one that leaves a mark.

Like most of the world, I greeted the New Year with the thought, “I have got to get organized!”  With a great deal of introspection, I sat down to create my goals.   I own several computers, two iPads, and a couple of smart phones, but when it comes to focusing in on what I really want to accomplish, I go back to the old school whiteboard.    I made my columns, used bright green for a subliminal reminder to “go” and stationed the board in a central location where I would have to face its accountability daily.

I was feeling good about my progress a week later and ready to put some of those coveted check marks next to the written steps.  Marker in hand, my face fell when I saw that someone had wiped the board clean, accidentally of course, and left only a vacant, lifeless space.  “O.K.  On to Plan B,” I said aloud to the empty room.   This, I am an expert in.  (As proof, I offer the search on my 6-year old computer that turned up almost 100 documents or messages with the same phrase, including one that is titled “Final Briefing”.)

Adapted from Jay’s book, Above and Beyond, here are Ten Steps to a Successful Plan B:

  1. Don’t quit.  No matter the challenge, make the decision to persevere, even if it means modifications to the goal.
  2. Cultivate the attitude of gratitude.  In other words, “count your blessings.”  This alone could be enough fuel to keep the engine running.
  3. Examine the work you’ve already done.  You may just be closer to the finish line or at least the completion of a vital step than you realized.
  4. Turn weaknesses into strength by realizing that extra struggle means extra reward.
  5.  Accept responsibility for mistakes; ask forgiveness; move on.
  6.  Redirect your thinking.   If a challenge seems too big, then think about a way around it.   Look for options.
  7. Find one thing you can do to move forward; anything, no matter how small.
  8. Put time limits on your moods.  Literally, set the timer.
  9. Seek godly, wise counsel, and I can’t emphasize the “godly, wise” part enough.

10. Last of all, examine your priorities.  Wrong motive?  Not believing in the goal enough to make it important?  Too focused on the end game and not on what the Lord is doing today through the challenges?   This may be the most valuable step for in it your “why” is clarified and the Holy Spirit is able to fill you with His power and purpose.

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying,  “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.  Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”   Matthew 26:39 NLT

 

Plan B is the best time to “go a little farther” by planning new goals and dreaming fresh dreams.  Yes!  In the midst of failure or pause, go ahead and believe that God has a definite plan for you, right now.  Then, see yourself in it.