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Life is a Constant Pivot: How to Reflect, Reassess, and Reroute

February 27, 2023

Life is a constant pivot. The truth is, the future is always unpredictable. We can't hang all our hope on how we intend to shape our future. But we also shouldn't stop trying to move forward and work hard towards our goals. We have to plan and be proactive stewards of our resources and time.

I desire to hold the tension of mapping a specific route to reach the desired destination while also being open to detours, reroutes, or the need to adjust plans completely. Because the most important thing at any given moment isn't about what goals we're pursuing, but how we're reacting and responding in the moment. It's how we're learning, growing, and being shaped along the way.

An example of this showing up in my own life are the days when my husband and I have a TouchDown scheduled. What’s a TouchDown? A TouchDown is a term we use for the days we set aside to talk about our goals, adjust the budget, or simply gauge how we’re doing. These days are almost always met with some range of a small hiccup to a complete catastrophe. A few examples of the hiccups and catastrophes included:

  • We got an alert that our identity was stolen and all of our credit cards got closed down.
  • A large number of important pieces of mail got lost in the black hole of the postal service system.
  • We got stuck in an endless loop trying to fix paperwork at the DMV.
  • Calvin went to the hospital because his ears were bleeding.
  • Our basement flooded. every. single. time. it rains.
  • Someone in our home had an abnormally high fever (103+) or some other form of health issue.
  • Our car had a flat tire, dead battery, or some other issue.
  • We found out the school we enrolled our kids in was embroiled in a major controversy - so we decided to pivot homeschooled for one more year.
  • One of our chickens died.
  • Our internet went out.

After all these attempts and failures, we finally had another chance for The Best TouchDown Ever. My husband and I had been planning to meet for months. We wanted to get on the same page with our budget and talk about our goals for the next year. We were so excited about the prospect of many upcoming projects, but we needed to meet to strategize and get on the same page. We arranged for childcare, we found a coffee shop, and did everything we could to make it fun. But as soon as we arrived at the coffee shop and had everything out on the table, I realized someone was hacking my social media accounts and website. While trying to get everything safe and locked down, we realized the external hard drive with all the previous budgets wasn’t powering up.

In that moment we had to reassess: what’s most important right now? Securing the accounts I had worked on for years from getting hacked? Finding out how to recover our budget information from the external hard drive? Using the precious time we had already set aside to pick a different date to meet and try the whole process again?

I mentioned that I try to hold the tension of mapping a specific route to reach the desired destination while also being open to detours, reroutes, or the need to adjust plans completely. In moments of chaos like this, when all my best-laid plans seem to be failing, one method I’ve found to be most helpful is to reflect, reassess, and reroute.

Reflecting - Taking the time to reflect on the things that have taken place over the year has proven really helpful. If there are important things you’ve missed out on, take the time to mourn missing out. But don’t let that be the end.

  • It helps me see how many things we set out to do were accomplished - in rerouted, indirect ways.
  • It provides an opportunity to revisit the motivations behind why we do the things we do.
  • It grounds me with a sense of thankfulness for all of the good things that happened.
  • It allows time to process the difficult things we've walked through and how they affect and shape us.

Reassessing - Reflecting is an excellent way for me to understand where I'm at right now. But Reassessing is taking that information and using it to determine what needs to happen next.

  • It allows us an opportunity to think through whether or not we're focusing on the right things at the right time.
  • It provides the freedom to remove goals and areas of focus that are no longer important.
  • It helps us double down on the goals that are healthy and good for our family.

Rerouting - The final step is taking all of the information you've been processing and responding by mapping out an updated path for getting there.

  • It gives you clarity for the ways you need to prepare for your next steps towards your goal.
  • It injects confidence as you pursue your goals by breaking them into smaller steps.
  • It makes rerouting in the future more manageable and less discouraging.

In that moment at the coffee shop, with my dreams of The Best TouchDown Ever crashing around my ears, I had a strong impulse to immediately jump into fixing the hard drive. After all, I had been compiling a bunch of information for our budget conversation on that drive. It was the culmination of months of work. Instead of following my impulse, I stopped to reflect on the motivation for why we were wanting to meet in the first place, reassess what is best to focus on at that moment, and rerouted our plans based on what we thought was most wise.

We ended up deciding to make sure our accounts were safe and secure. This was a long process. And this meant that once again our budget and planning conversations were put on the backburner. But because we took the time to get a clear picture of our options, we knew we had made the best choice. Not to mention, with a situation like hacking where time is important, we were thankful we were able to fix everything without any interruptions.

The list of TouchDown catastrophes and chaotic days goes on and on. Life for us, especially on the days we’re planning to be productive, is one big pivot. That’s why making every moment count is so important to me. It’s about knowing what the ultimate aim is and moving towards it. This means, in our home, people will always come first. So if someone is sick, we stop and care for the people who are hurting. We keep rescheduling. We get up and keep trying again.

When my husband and I are working we try to always be available to listen to our children. Obviously there are times when we have to wait (a meeting, working on a tight deadline, etc.) but ultimately, if they want to show us something, we’ll take the time to go look. The result is that there’s a closer bond.

After doing this hundreds of times over and over, it’s easy to become weary. I know what it looks like to give up. I’ve seen numerous examples of people like that in my life. People who gave up on me and people who have given up on what’s ultimately important because it got too hard. And, in the end, their life is left with a big void.

The most important thing at any given moment isn't about what goals we're pursuing, but how we're reacting and responding in the moment. It's how we're learning, growing, and being shaped along the way.

Hope is not controlling the future; it's casting aside the fear of the future. We do this by embracing things outside of our control while being faithful with the things we've been entrusted with. All the while, knowing that whatever comes our way shapes us for our good and the benefit of others.

-JP

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