When things don't go to plan...

Sickeningly, the muddy waters were quick to climb over neighbouring streets and into our home. Gentle dirty waves washing through each room. Just below the powerpoints, and under furniture which we’d lifted onto besa-bricks the night before. 

Returning to our house on the first day after flooding, 31 March 2017.

Returning to our house on the first day after flooding, 31 March 2017.

We'd evacuated at 2am to higher ground, with little one asleep and cats bewildered in their box.

As the sun rose over the floodwaters, I held my 18m daughter close to me with fierce protectiveness, feeling terror and wonder at the expanse of water. She and I kept up our lovely family rituals and giggled over tea and toast while we were marooned at our friends’ home. My partner waded through the house, took photos and assessed the flood waters over the next few days.

Returning to the house on the second day, with water significantly fallen.

Returning to the house on the second day, with water significantly fallen.

Water fell quickly, we were lucky. Damages minimal and electricity safe to use. Carpets to pull up and a house full of mud. Our friends, neighbours and strangers were amazing and quickly combined forces to help us clean our house within days. They kept us fed and laughing. Strangers in our community adopted our cats during the cleanup, and local businesses freely assisted with removing waterlogged waste before it turned nasty. 

I am forever grateful for this support from our community, and the newfound joy of accepting help when needed.

But this wasn’t the plan! Like fairytale episodes of Grand Design, I had a beautiful timetable planned out. With only a little while in this imperfect old house, soon to move on up to build our dream home on some beautiful land, where business and our impact would flourish as much as we do.

Flooding was not not supposed to happen - the BOM* said she’d be apples. Though luckily I'd trusted my intuition, prepared my flood plan plus ordered a big delivery of besa-bricks on the morning of the flood, so we were saved most furniture and essentials.

But this is life. And we are so fortunate to be safe and well. In our region there was widespread destruction with some far bigger flooding and people losing their homes. I acknowledge far greater disasters and suffering in the world, and value the great efforts we make to help. In this little corner of the world, our community support was extraordinary, and we thank you all. 

It’s been almost a year since. We are facing another flood season. I have a better flood preparation plan now as well as every confidence, mindset and strategy in place to arriving soon at our dream home.

There's countless other different stories I can share with you about plans gone awry, but this is the one resonating right now as the rain tumbles down another day.

Planning is practically my middle name. I love the sense of momentum and control that a great plan provides. Reorganising awkward uncertainty or anxiety into a spreadsheet. Ticking off lists, kicking goals, surpassing expectations and diving into the next objective often too fast for any sense of accomplishment. And yes there’s always procrastiplanning to throw your time and stationary at!

However, I’ve discovered planning only gives the illusion of control. And it can be exhaustingly counterproductive. Things don’t always go to plan. Let’s face it, it's rare for things to go beautifully like clockwork as expected.

So why do I still love strategy and planning in action?

Inspiring stairs (and higher ground!) courtesy StartInno, my awesome coworking space.

Inspiring stairs (and higher ground!) courtesy StartInno, my awesome coworking space.

Because it empowers you with awareness of WHY and what is essential to you, so that you can keep tracking towards this, no matter what changes along the way. You get frameworks for sound decision making, for goals and timelines and problem-solving.

You accept and seek out help when you need it. You are emboldened with trust, conviction and tools to achieve what you set out to. You test, measure and enhance or adapt along the way.

Plan with flexibility, equanimity and space for creative flow. Trust your gut and the evidence around you.

This is my approach to strategic mapping for clients, and for myself. With your own strategy mapped out, you have clarity and discernment around your WHY. Your goals are set in action for the short, medium and long term, and you have tools and processes for tracking and refining as you go. I also offer support, accountability and cheer you along, as together we amplify our goals, celebrate wins, and reflect to grow with challenges.

Get strategy to save yourself creative bandwidth for living in the moment, embracing flux, and doing what you do best.

Check out how we can work together on your strategy here.

I’d love to hear about your approaches to planning and when they go awry?

* PS for those outside of this sunburnt country, the BOM is the wonderful Bureau of Meteorology - thanks for all your information and advice whenever weather gets inclement!


Kathryn Gray