• Ariana Friedlander

4 Reflection Questions for Planning During Times of Great Uncertainty

It's just another day living during a global pandemic, which means nothing is going according to plan. Working from home while homeschooling will do that to you! It feels like this whole crisis is one big lesson on how to adapt, how to remain focused while staying aware of the changing landscape we are living in, how to course correct while mid-flight.


I have found that there's a progression of emotions I experience when things don't go according to my plans, yet again! First there's denial. It might be because I'm stubborn, but I will try to force things to go according to plan even when everything outside of me (particularly my child) is screaming - "Heck no!" 

Then comes anger! I worked hard to figure out these plans, WTF, can't I catch a break.  During the angry phase I'm still trying to force things to go according to my plans. If I just can convince everyone around me that my plans are the way to go we should be all set. 


After anger, I move into renegotiation. "Ok, I won't work on this project right now, but I'm going to need time to work on it later." Turns out everyone in my family is honing their negotiation skills right now! 

From renegotiation comes resignation. I mean, the most important job I have right now is as a mother, so, I'm actually doing a service by resigning myself to this moment, forgetting the to do list and going on a nature walk with my kid. It's a learning opportunity for her. Besides, it's beautiful out and getting fresh air feels so great.

Lastly, I enter the phase of re-invigoration. Since plan A didn't work out, I'm coming up with plans B, C, D and E! Because if there's anything I've learned it's that my plan needs at least 3 backup plans...which is frustrating when it all turns out to have been a waste of time!

As the vicious cycle continues I start to wonder, is there any use in planning? While my days hardly go as planned, I do seem to get more done when I have some semblance of a plan in place than when I don't. What's more, I'm getting the important stuff done when I am conscious about what my priorities are and that only happens when I plan.


So, how does one go about planning during a time of great uncertainty? When the only thing we know for sure is that "normal" is something we need to grieve the loss of, how can we adequately prepare for the vast unknown territory we continue to chart our paths through?

Not surprisingly, I have found the answers to these questions in the pages of my journal! 

I have meditated a lot on this quote by Denis Waitley the last few months, "happy people plan actions, they don't plan results."


It turns out, yet another learning opportunity in this crisis is re-evaluating what it means to plan and how I go about crafting my plans. Whereas before, planning meant to "have everything figured out in advance." Planning now means having a sense of direction for where I'm going, evaluating external factors that impact my journey and identifying the next right thing to do to propel me forward today!

That's it! And here's the thing for all those planners out there that are remiss, not knowing what to do about this vast chasm of uncertainty - this is your chance to shine by embracing planning as a continuous process, by making bite sized plans rather than figuring out the whole enchilada! 

Here are 4 reflection questions to help you plan during times of great uncertainty:

  • What direction are you heading, what do you want to make progress towards?

  • What external factors are influencing your journey and how?

  • What's the very next action you can take today to make progress on your journey?

  • What values are you committed to upholding with your actions?

What's Rosabella Consulting Up To?

The Virtual Journal Jams have been a great way to create a safe space for professionals to explore how this crisis is impacting them so they may navigate these challenging times with grace and determination in community. Last week we had a lively exploration of how to rewrite your story in the pages of your journal. 

This Saturday I will show people how to use their journal to craft plans that inspire during times of great uncertainty. Tired of spinning your wheels? Ready to make progress towards your long-term goals but struggling to figure out how or where to start? Frustrated that nothing is going according to how you planned? This Virtual Journal Jam's for you, check it out and register online here.

Get inspiration to journal!

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