Planning is about anticipating things. By doing it, dare to create the future before it arrives. Planning is how we predict the future — a way of anticipating what it will need or demand. While there are many things we prepare to come our way, there will always be the unexpected. In both life and leadership, dealing with the unexpected is inevitable.

I talking about the not-so-nice kind of unexpected. The unexpected is imperative. It will come. How we face it can either make us stronger, help us progress or destroy our cause and resolve. The resilient are more likely to prevail. So, how do we go about dealing with the unexpected? Some suggestions:

Expect It

The unexpected is unexpected because it is that — unexpected. Though we may not be able to know what it will be, we can expect it. When it happens, we can choose protest or despair, or rise up to the challenges it presents.

The first rule to dealing with the unexpected is to expect it. (Click to Tweet)

When we know something could disrupt progress we won’t be as surprised or paralysed.


Margin can be in the form of white space on your calendar. In planning make sure you create room for things not to go according to plan. Despite great competencies and optimism, we don’t have control over everything.

Prepare for the unexpected by creating margin (Click to Tweet).

Margin is even more important in complex systems. The more people or points of failure there are, the greater the need for it. The adage, “Under promise and over deliver” is appropriate here.

Do Something

Very few, if any, things solve themselves. Challenges are best solved by action. Doing something is one about the unexpected is means that it doesn’t have to have final say.

The task may seem insurmountable. An action plan may, at first, seem difficult to create but it is possible. Dealing with the unexpected sometimes requires deliberate action. A step at a time will soon see you solve the problem. You might not solve everything in one sweep, but there is often something you can do.

Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do. (Click to Tweet)

One of the worst things you can do when the unexpected knocks, is nothing.

Keep The Goal In Mind / Sight

Whatever you do, don’t lose sight of the mission. The unexpected is not only destructive but distracting. When the unexpected happens, don’t let it dampen your hope and optimism. Don’t let it entangle your endeavour and stifle your dreams.

When dealing with the unexpected keep asking, “What’s the most important thing?”.

Dealing with the unexpected must never come at the expense of the mission. Remember why you have to deal with it. Having a good perspective of your mission makes the unexpected somewhat bearable and worth addressing.


The unexpected is inevitable; it will come. Expect it, create margin for it and do something about it. Your mission is too important to allow the unexpected to derail you. Stay the course.


Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

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