5 Steps to Embrace The Unexpected in Business and Leadership

My son, Riley, and I recently hiked the last 72 miles of the Camino de Santiago. This week’s blog is part of a series titled: Leadership Lessons from the Camino de Santiago

Riley and I began our hike on day 1 filled with excitement and energy to spend the next 6 days hiking to Santiago de Compostela.  The first three days of the hike were front-loaded in terms of the miles we hiked.  In fact, we hiked close to 40 miles in our first three days!

As the afternoon progressed into the evening, I noticed that I was starting to feel worse and worse. I went to bed early with the hope that I would wake up the next day feeling better about whatever it was that had been upsetting me, but instead I woke up feeling much worse than I had the night before. On day four of the hike, there was no way I would be able to hike the leg, despite the fact that it was a short one.

As the afternoon progressed into the evening, I noticed that I was starting to feel worse and worse. I went to bed early with the hope that I would wake up the next day feeling better about whatever it was that had been upsetting me, but instead I woke up feeling much worse than I had the night before. On day four of the hike, there was no way I would be able to hike the leg, despite the fact that it was a short one.

In order for me to maintain my resting schedule, Riley and I came to the conclusion that we should take a taxi to the next town over. After resting for several hours in the neighboring town, during which time I did not experience any improvement in my condition, I was taken to the hospital in order to be examined there. It turned out that I had become infected with a virus, and the fact that I was physically exhausted from the hike just made my condition worse. I was unable to function properly beginning at the end of the third day and continuing through the fourth day.

Riley and I made the decision to take a taxi to the next town so I could continue to rest.  I spent hours in the next town resting, but after not feeling any better for most of the day, I was taken to the hospital to get checked out.  It turns out I had contracted some kind of virus, which was made worse by my physical exhaustion from the hike.  From the end of day three all the way through day four, I was out of commission.

This brings me to one of the biggest lessons Riley and I learned on our hike on the Camino de Santiago as it relates to life, business, and leadership:

Your planned trajectory does not always end up being your executed trajectory. Plans can and will change.  Roll with the punches. 

When we, as business owners and managers, embark on new endeavors, we frequently devise detailed plans outlining exactly how we anticipate those endeavors to unfold. When it comes to being successful in business, having a plan and following through with that plan are two essential components. On the other hand, when things do not go according to plan, we have to learn to roll with the punches, adapt, and come up with new strategies. There are many occurrences that are outside of our control, and when this takes place, there are a few straightforward procedures that can be taken to get back on track.

  • Recognize and admit things did not go as planned.
  • Get clarity and decide on what you can control and what you cannot control.
  • Discover and seek alternative options to get back on track.
  • Decide and move forward.
  • Don’t question the decision.  Great leaders decide and do not play the ‘would have, ‘could have’, ‘should have game.

Remember the only two things you can control when things don’t go as planned are your attitude and your actions.

Challenging and encouraging you to keep up your leadership journey in business!

3 things:

I love you.

I believe in you.

You’ve got this.

Now, go get it!

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