Arment Dietrich

Plan for the Unexpected

By: Arment Dietrich | December 28, 2011 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Lisa Gerber.

As I write this, it’s the morning after Christmas. Boxing Day. We’re cleaning out the boxes here. Getting ready for the weekend, New Years, and more importantly taking advantage of down time to clean out.

I love this time of year. It’s quiet everywhere. My house is quiet, the blogosphere is quiet, and my newsfeed is full of comatose friends needing to detox after a hedonist season. We’ re cleaning out closets, basements, inboxes, and Facebook friends.

All the clients are on holiday and it’s time to get the “push back” items on the list done; those tasks or projects that keep moving on the to-do list from week to week. It’s a time reserved for doing work that I love, but obviously a time of reflection.

I keep thinking about how this year did not go as planned. In some ways it sucked, but in a lot of ways, it was an amazing year. It sucked because we didn’t hit our goals. But that isn’t enough to qualify the year as a bad one.

We’ll do it in 2012 for sure. We’re setting new goals, budgets and resolutions, just like we did this time last year, and the year before, and the year before.

Bu this year, I’m going to do something different. I’m going to plan for the unplanned. I mean, we can plan and plan, but do things ever go as planned?

Three Resolutions to Prepare for the Unexpected

  1. Look for the lessons: I can track how many people are following me, talking about me, and even supposedly how popular I am. I can track how far I ran, skied, climbed, and what my heart rate was. Isn’t there an app to tell me how much I learned this year? My graph would go off the chart for 2011. I made some mistakes this year, and things didn’t go as I had hoped. No one was harmed; no one lost his or her home. At each moment, I became one point smarter.
  2. Watch for the open door: This is the favorite thing a good friend of mine said to me when I was faced with a very big, life-changing decision: “Even if it doesn’t go as planned, it will, at a minimum open new doors.” As I walk the hallway of life, I’ll be sure and watch for the open doors, rather than stare at my new shoes.
  3. Send a note for no reason: Last week, I received a note from someone from whom I hadn’t heard in awhile. It went something like this: “How are you? How are the holidays? What are you doing? By the way, I was wondering…” Honestly, I didn’t mind. I was happy to help. But it gave me an idea: To keep in touch with people for no reason. We all have a lot of friends who are rude enough to not be active on social media, right? So it takes a little more effort to keep in touch with them. I’ll go through my LinkedIn or my Facebook friends, and send a note or two each week for no other reason than to say, “Hi, how are you?” It keeps the network fresh, and wide.

S–t happens. It’s either within our control or outside of our control. We can let it rock our world, or we can grow from it.

This time last year, I sat at my computer hopeful that 2011 would be far better than 2010. Actually – same for 2009, and 2008, now that I think about it. So while I know 2012 is going to rock, my pragmatic self keeps reminding me that’s what I was thinking a year ago. But it doesn’t have to suck. That’s our choice.

Thanks to Kewl Wallpapers for the kewl image of unexpected guests.

  • As the wise Yoda once said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

    When you plan, you try.

    When you do, you do not try.

    When you send a note, you are being active.

    When you plan to send a note, you are being passive.

    Aim to be active. Aim to do. Aim to appease Yoda.

    • @Ari Herzog I don’t know Yoda that well. But good idea, I will appease him. He sounds like a smart dude.

      • ginidietrich

        @Lisa Gerber@Ari Herzog Oy. I’ll learn you, Lisa. I’ll learn you.

        • @ginidietrich@Ari Herzog Oh good, then I can add another point to my app. I do know our neighbor’s dog is Yoda. But i haven’t seen Star Wars since it came out in the theaters!!

        • ginidietrich

          @Lisa Gerber Oy.

  • I’m with you. And I have a good feeling about 2012. All of the elements are in place, they just have to click…just…right…

  • Guest post? I thought you lived here; are you still on a probationary period? Do your HR people even let you call it that anymore? I heard Gini was a tough task master……….

    I have an app that tracks how popular I am; I didn’t think ‘not very’ was a legitimate measurement so I deleted it. Now, you just have to ask me if you want to know…….

    2011 wasn’t spectacular for me and there were a few opportunities that were moved to 2012, but that is the nature of my business. At least I didn’t lose a leg, huh? Did I ever tell you about my three-legged dog we called Tripod?

    Ok, that’s all I got; obviously someone else has a lot of time on their hands right now too.

    Happy New Year to you and look forward to seeing the great things you will unveil in 2012.

    • @bdorman264 You know what’s cool about being a guest in your own house? You get to use the fancy towels. and soaps.

      And here’s to a rocking 2012 for all of us!!

      • @Lisa Gerber I have found those fancy little soaps once you finally get to use them don’t lather up too well…….what’s up with that…………

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  • SeanMcGinnis

    @SocialMediaDDS Did ya like that one? LOL! cc @ginidietrich

  • Ah yes, watch for the open door! External circumstances will intervene, so roll with it and always be on the lookout for new opportunities. When you change the way you perceive a situation, new options are always available.

    • @Craig McBreen The open door is my favorite. 🙂 Gotta pay attention to the opportunities in unexpected places. It may not go as planned, but it can still be fun and adventurous!

  • SpinSucks

    @nagasakiosada RIght?! Wouldn’t it be much more convenient if they were all social online?

  • You guys have your act together and I have great confidence in your success. It’s great to look back, learn from our mistakes and press on with optimism because in the end that’s probably the biggest differentiator. Wishing you the best in 2012 Lisa!

    • ginidietrich

      @hackmanj You are so kind, Joe. Thank you!

  • lisagerber

    @john_trader1 thanks, John. 🙂 that’s nice!

  • ginidietrich

    What do you mean we didn’t reach our goals?!? We totally did…just seven months late. And think about everything we learned through the process. You got an “how much did I learn” app and I got a promotion!

    • @ginidietrich Well, I had a killer, kick ass adventurous year on many levels. which is why I wrote this. because in the end, we haven’t quite accomplished what we set out to when we set out to, but we sure are having fun.

      And I’m really proud of you for earning that promotion.

      • ginidietrich

        @Lisa Gerber And…as painful as it’s been, I think we have a better product to show for it.

  • “Send a note for no reason” – love that. Great way to tell people that you’re still around. However, automated messages do not count 😉

    Hope you’re having a great holiday towards an awesome 2012!

    • @janwong It’s just really nice to get a note from someone for no reason. I’m not going so far as to suggest a handwritten note. 🙂 but a personal email – no agenda, no mass distribution – doesn’t take that long.

      Wishing you an awesome 2012 as well!!

  • I am optimistic about 2012 because I have to be. Besides a good attitude makes a real difference.

    • @TheJackB I am one of those that totally subscribe to the idea of manifesting your own thoughts. I know I know, it’s new agey and crazy, but like you said, if nothing else, it just makes life a little more pleasant.

  • eckhouse

    @tonia_ries There’s a fun article this week in The Economist about how Belgiuim came to dominate beer-making

    • tonia_ries

      @eckhouse nice – thx for the heads up! Enjoyed a few German beers on our first night in Vienna today. Prosit!

  • girlygrizzly

    Lisa, I wish you and all of yours the absolute best! This is a great post. You know what? 2011 was Fantastic (!!) in the most unexpected (under-appreciated) ways. It really was. When you find that app, let us know, because I don’t believe I have EVER learned more about a bigger range of topics, than I did, in 2011. Almost a year ago, I arrived. I now know enough to know there’s all sorts of stuff to learn and I am loving every minute of it and COMPLETELY hope and aim to get better at what I do… in all the aspects of my life. Thanks, Lisa. Here’s to 2012! Amber-Lee

    • @girlygrizzly and meeting really amazing people was another bonus in 2011! Thanks, Amber-Lee, all the best to you, and I’ll get cracking on that app. 🙂