We know that it’s possible to make lemonade when life hands you lemons, but taking action before you’re thrown a curveball can make dealing with tough stuff much easier when it actually happens. We talked with a number of women about how they intentionally prepare for the unforeseen and unexpected, like dealing with disappointment, struggling in business, or grieving a breakup. They gave us some solid tips anyone can try to ensure a happier and healthier outcome, no matter what you’re going through.
Put In the Prep Work
Rachel Parcell — the designer behind Rachel Parcell, Inc. and founder of Pink Peonies — believes in putting in the prep work. “In my personal experience, life rarely goes as planned. We’ll all experience disappointment to some degree, but if we mentally, emotionally, and physically prepare ourselves, we will be far better off.”
For Ali Grant, the founder of Be Social, it’s all about research when preparing for the unexpected on the job. “Working in the social and digital space, things can change in a moment,” she affirms. “TechCrunch and Mashable are two of my favorite sources for keeping up to date with new and upcoming digital trends. I also spend a good amount of time tuning into and analyzing the content that other brands, leaders, and visionaries are releasing on social media and online. Not only does this help me gauge what is current and popular, but it allows me to better predict what’s to come, ultimately keeping ahead of rising social trends, curves, and the unexpected.”
Pop artist and entrepreneur Ashley Longshore agrees. “The only way to be prepared for the unexpected is to do your homework by engaging all of your senses on a daily basis. Like a scared deer in a field trying to eat some grass, you have to be ready for a bear to run up! Do your homework, and be grateful, enthusiastic, and ready to fight for it.”
Use Self-Care as a Preventive Superpower
Part of that prep work is making sure you’re in your best form; that way, you’ll have the energy to tackle whatever gets thrown your way. “Whether your self-care is going for a run on the beach, meditating, or indulging in a glass of wine and pasta after a long day if you really need it, then so be it; we all need that balance to stay healthy,” encourages Allison Taylor from Le Prunier. Keeping up with self-care basics — sleep, diet, exercise — to revitalize your energy is a solid place to start.
Lane Petrauskas, the founder of Skorch, says that “securing her oxygen mask” is vital to feeling equipped for the unexpected. “I travel a lot, so I can’t help but use a flying metaphor,” she quips. “That’s how I approach life. I take the time every morning to center myself. I do this in various ways — meditating, working out, listening to inspirational speakers on YouTube, sitting down to enjoy breakfast. I give myself the gift of time, even if it’s just 15 minutes. Then, throughout the day, I’m coming from a more calm, collected, clear place. My oxygen mask is on.”
Manage Your Expectations
“I try to go in neutral — that way I can’t ever be too disappointed,” admits Bianca Cheah, a wellness and beauty expert and the founder of Sporteluxe. Iva Pawling, the co-founder of Richer Poorer, backs up Cheah’s sentiment: “I learned early on that managing my expectations is the key to not losing my mind. When I stopped being surprised by the unexpected — learned to simply accept it as par for the course and to jump into problem-solving mode as soon as possible — things got much easier.”
Expecting the unexpected, however, might work too. Joi Ruud from Amala Beauty tells us that remembering life is full of surprises is key. “Reminding myself of this is a must to stay on the top of my game.”
Welcome Challenges (and Embrace Flexibility)
Emily Jackson — marathoner, mom, and the force behind Ivory Lane — leads with a popular quote. “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to what happens to you,” she reminds us. “Things will happen, and sometimes there’s nothing we can do to prevent them. Still, I try to mentally prepare and constantly connect in the event that uncertainty strikes.” Even more, Jackson tries to welcome the challenges that come her way instead of feeling afraid: “Try a mindset that says, ‘No matter what, I’ll figure out a way to overcome it.’”
Sarah Baucom encourages her team at Girl Tribe Pop Up to become problem solvers and embrace flexibility. “We stay prepared but know that plans inevitably change,” she tells us. “Knowing how to deal is an essential part of life and business.” Having a sense of humor can help too. Interior designer Cortney Novogratz says that keeping her cool and being able to joke have been key to overcoming unforeseen tough moments and obstacles. “I love the quote by H.G. Wells, ‘The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.’” We do too!
Build and Cultivate Your Support Village
It might feel like you have to save the world solo or that things are crumbling down all around you, but it’s helpful to remember that you don’t actually have to go it alone. In fact, having a trusted support system can help you handle everything from scheduling mishaps to major turbulence. Ruud says that cultivating her village daily is a key way she stays ready to handle the unexpected. “I have a circle of people who can help me out, such as my nanny, parents, coworkers, and neighbors,” she explains. “This gives me peace of mind when life throws a curveball. I’ve also had to learn that there’s a lot of strength in asking for help; it’s not a weakness like I once thought.”
STATE Bags co-founder Jacqueline Tatelman agrees that knowing you have a go-to support network can be a game changer. “Asking for help and aligning myself with the right team or advisors makes dealing with the unexpected easier,” she says. “I also have the support of an incredible executive coach who has helped me through some of the worst situations. He opens my mind in a way that I could never do on my own and allows me to problem-solve, compartmentalize, and execute on the solution.” Whether it’s a mentor, coach, teacher, or circle of friends, learn to feel confident and comfortable when relying on your support system.
How do you prepare for life’s unexpected challenges? Share your secrets with us on Twitter @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)