When Plans Fail: Cancellations, Tiger Woods, and Game of Thrones

When Plans Fail: Cancellations, Tiger Woods, and Game of Thrones

This week’s inspiration comes from a quote I discovered during my morning quiet time. It’d been a week of cancellations that I had to make and I was frustrated. My life was not going as I’d planned!

Granted, each cancellation had a valid reason: I tweaked my back and fought through two migraines. All have resolved now, but I was annoyed that I had to give in to my ailments and alter my plans.

What words inspired me?

Plans are useless; but planning is essential. –Dwight D. Eisenhower

Somehow that thought both comforted and encouraged me. I believe in making plans. As most of you know, one of my go-to mantras is my father’s: What’s planned is possible.

However, I also know that life goes sideways. Often! What we have planned is sometimes simply not possible.

But Eisenhower was right. Planning is essential. Thoughtful planning enables possibilities.

Once again, I experienced this fact as I ventured last week to my first-ever event for Itineris, a sister organization to Pathfinders For Autism that assists adults with autism in finding and flourishing in employment opportunities.

After I was paralyzed, I learned quickly that advance work is crucial. A muddy gravel parking lot, a doorway too narrow, a threshold too high, and a wheelchair lift with no key, all sent me home. Epic fail! So, weeks before the Itineris event, my hosts and I made sure there was accessible parking, an accessible entrance, and checked to see if the location of the event and our table was on the entry floor.

Thankfully, our planning and the event were a success, a tribute to the hard work and generous hearts of all who are touched by autism.

Plans may be useless as Eisenhower suggests. But failed plans offer an enormous opportunity for learning, growth, and future preparation.

Tiger Woods knows that. So do the producers of Game of Thrones.

It’d been a lifetime, 22 years, between those winning father-son hugs. “I never thought we’d see anything that could rival the hug with his father in 1997,” CBS commentator Jim Nantz pointed out after Tiger Woods’ historic win last Sunday at the Masters. “But we just did.”

The screen lit up with the replay of Tiger’s hug with his father after his first win in 1997, and then faded into the exuberant hug he had just received from his 10-year old son.

It was a moment like no other. Despite the many failed plans and challenges along the way, Tiger had persevered, using those experiences as preparation to win.

Game of Thrones executive producers Dan Weiss and David Benioff encountered a literal “game-changing” problem for the final episodes of their astonishingly successful television show, I learned from Anderson Cooper’s report on 60 Minutes. Midway through the series, the producers realized the show was catching up to the end of George R.R. Martin’s books. Although Martin promised two more novels to end the story, he missed all the deadlines.

What!? Are you kidding me?

So much for that plan.

Although he told the producers how he thought the books might end, Martin didn’t have the details. So the producers had to rely on their experience to create the ending. Thank heavens for seven seasons of meticulous attention to detail and careful planning!

Yep, plans fail. It’s inevitable.

We cancel. We lose. We adapt to circumstances beyond our control. And with effort, we learn, grow, and use those experiences to fuel and prepare for success in the sure-to-be adventures ahead.

How about you? Has a failed plan ever prepared you for success? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Thanks again to all who have honored Madison in our 1 in 50 campaign. Contributions received before 4/26 will also be acknowledged on the Madison Banner at our annual Pathfinders for Autism Golf Tournament.

Madison's Donation and Banner

Madison's 1 in 50 Final Video

P.P.S. Excited to be a part of UNC’s Morehead-Cain book club discussion last week. What an enriching conversation we had! I LOVE doing book clubs. Email me (reply to this email) if you have an interest!

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