Expect the Unexpected and Plan for It

I'll bet you expect the unexpected. But are you ready for it. At least, as ready as you can be in attitude, knowledge and preparedness. 


Let’s face it. The unexpected happens. We can’t predict when or know what will happen, but it does. Being aware of that can actually save you time.

Start planning for the unexpected. Create reserves of key people, critical knowledge, information, money, materials, emergency planning and whatever else will give you a level of security should an unforeseen event strike.

The Boy Scouts have a motto: “Be prepared.” It will serve you as well. When the unexpected happens, you have a better chance of being ready for it, both in attitude and physical preparedness.

"The pressures of life in corporate America are not about to go away. If anything, they show every sign of increasing. High pressure is now a fact of life and a way of life. The only way to survive – and thrive – in today's workplace is not to get rid of stress but to deepen your capacity to handle stress."

James Loehr, Stress for Success

Five Days of Coaching to Expect the Unexpected, and Plan for It


Life happens.  How have you historically responded to unforeseen events, both pleasant and painful?  We can't be prepared for everything, but we can have an attitude that encompasses the unknown.  What shift in attitude or thinking do you need to make that will help you in your response to the unexpected?  Purposefully take the next week to work on it.

The Coach asks:

  • What is your default response to unforeseen events? How does your response vary from not real serious to very serious? Pleasant to painful? Personal to corporate? 
  • How "ready" are you for the unexpected? What is it that keeps, or doesn't keep, you resilient in light of a sudden change? 
  • What shift in your own thinking and attitude would help you be even better prepared to expect the unexpected? What do you need to think about? Work on? Put in place? Change? What will make the biggest difference in facing these unanticipated events in the best way possible? 
  • Be intentional about increasing your preparedness for the unexpected. 


Create a list and start assembling what's needed to create a level of security for the various unexpected situations you may encounter.

The Coach asks:

  • Create a list with this heading: "What I (we) need to be as prepared as I (we) can to face the unexpected." Some of this will come out of yesterday's work. Add more as they come to mind. Think of as many things as you can that would increase the level of security and confidence. For now don't worry about how viable each is. Just get it down for reference. 
  • Now ... begin to think of your list. How realistic is each item? What sort of difference would it make? Who would need to be involved in making it happen or putting it in place? What is the cost? What is the timeline? How easy will it be to sell the idea to others? How will you get stakeholders engaged? 
  • What are you picking up as you reflect on your list? What categories or themes, or natural divisions appear? How can you capitalize on this, as all stakeholders elevate their ability to expect the unexpected and respond to it well. 
  • What needs to happen next? 


Today, choose to consciously avoid paranoia about what you cannot control.  You've prepared as best you can.  Leave the rest in God's hands and get on with your day.

The Coach asks:

  • Don't allow yourself to become paranoid. There is a difference between being resilient and overly fixated and anxious in the face of the unexpected.
  • What IS NOT within your control? What IS within your control? How can you comfortably (but not naively) get on with what needs to be done and not fall into worry and anxiety?
  • You've prepared for something unexpected to happen. You've anticipated what the greater risks might be. How can you "leave the rest with God?"
  • What are you learning about yourself as you consider this? About your immediate team? About your greater workforce? How can you use this information? 


Create a strategic preparedness plan for your company, organization, team or project. Even having the conversation will help.  Attitude is often everything in keeping a clear head when the unexpected happens.

The Coach asks:

  • Make a start on a strategic preparedness plan with a clear view to expect the unexpected, and as best as is reasonably possible to prepare for it.
  • What would a conversation sound like as you consider this? What would possible training look like? Mentoring? 
  • How will you assist those who "fall apart" in a crisis? What does "fall apart" mean, in your context? 
  • What does it mean to "keep a clear head" in the face of the unforeseen? How can you address keeping a clear head? 


Celebrate how you are much more prepared mentally and physically today than you were five days ago.  Review your systems from time to time and adjust for improvement.

The Coach asks:

  • What progress have you made already? How can you polish it even more? 
  • Stop to celebrate the changes for the better that have been introduced. 
  • What regularity can be introduced to ensure that you stay up on these things? 
  • How will you carry this forward into the future? 

Spiritual Reflection for Christian Leaders


As a Christian Executive Leadership Coach I encourage Christian leaders to reflect on God's Word to add to their wisdom.

  • 1 Kn 12:15  ".. for this turn of events was from the Lord ..."
  • Ps 56:3  When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
  • Ps 46:1  God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 
  • Mt 25:1 - 13 At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bride groom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 
  • 1 Th 5:6  So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 
  • Heb 13:5,6  Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.

If you are a leader, executive, or senior level professional looking to work with a Christian Executive Coach, I invite you to connect with me here.

If appropriate, we can meet by phone or Zoom to discuss your situation.

Record Your Progress

This is your opportunity to track your progress. Start by asking yourself how important this practice is to you? Record the importance as - not at all, somewhat, fairly, highly or extremely. 

Now next to it ask yourself how well you carry out this practice. Record your performance as - very poor, poor, okay, good or very good. 

Importance Performance Check

The things we track, we pay attention to. Across time, come back and record your new results. You will find that as you are intentional about making improvements, you will bump your "score" up higher. 

This is significant. Don't miss the opportunity to acknowledge your success, and use it as a springboard for making even further gain. 


The bad stuff. Most of us have been through some pretty rotten stuff. Whether it's in our personal life or at work, setbacks, losses, disappointments, fires, floods, and betrayals happen.

And I don't mean to sound trite when I say this, but what is often said is true ... How we respond to it makes all the difference. We can collapse and let it destroy us, or, because we are resilient and have faith, we can rise up and face whatever it is head on, dealing with it, and getting through it. 

The good stuff. Of course, if to expect the unexpected were always about good things happening, we'd probably think so much more differently about the unforeseen. Still, even good things disrupt other things that are taking place. That too creates its own dynamic that we need to be thinking about and "ready" for.  

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G.E. Wood and Associates is an international coaching firm registered in Ontario, Canada
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