What To Do When Things Don’t Work Out the Way You Planned

image (6)Ever feel relieved when something’s over?

Me too! It’s always good when it DOES work out the way we wanted, but what about when it doesn’t? It can be a downer, stressful, and may even leave you feeling like a fraud. Ouch!

I’m curious to know what YOU do when things don’t work out the way you wanted them to.

Do you beat yourself up? Complain to a friend? Obsess about what you did wrong? Or maybe you go into a depression and hide? (It’s normal.)

Before you do any of that again, sweet soul, let’s see what else you can do to use the energy from whatever you may be going through right now, that is not exactly what you planned.

What happens next is most important, it’s key, and directs what comes later.

This last week I brought a project off the back burner. It had been sitting for 2 years and in less than two weeks I, along with my team, were bringing this baby into the world. It was fast, and there was a lot of energy to have this one turn out and be very validating. People loved what I created, and I was touched to know I was able to serve in a new way.

I’ve had many goals over the years. And after more than 10 years of working for myself, I’ve also had my take at “failures”. Back in 2012, I hit a wall and was depressed. I felt like a fraud because I did all the “right” things, spent the big bucks, and then no one signed up. WTF?

I had to change gears to make it work, and I did. I was still wanting what others had. (Read this post to get the full scoop on what I’m talking about.) I was not sure if I could go on doing this anymore. I kept focusing on what I did wrong, and it only brought me more challenges.

Sound familiar?

At the time, I needed a new perspective, and I found a program that introduced me to that new perspective. After doing one of the exercises, I realized the year was actually better than I thought. I was so busy focusing on what I did wrong, what did not work, and in a serious cloud of perfectionism. So much so that I could not see what was good.

When I began to acknowledge myself, focus my awareness on all the wins – even the small ones, I began to build the muscle of looking at what was working. This started to shift things. I had more energy and felt better about myself, instead of feeling like sh*t.

The more I talked about what worked, celebrated my small wins as if I did meet the goal, even if it was a fraction of my goal, it got even better. I got a new client, felt confident enough to raise my rates, and more inquiries for people who wanted to work with me started coming in.

It was less pushing, less forcing, and I was happier. I learned this…

When we get out of the way and validate ourselves – even our failures, enjoying life gets easier. Click to tweet…

We are trained to see what we did wrong first…

You know how you are and what you do when things don’t work out. I don’t have to break it down for you because I have a feeling you’ve been doing the same thing for quite a while.

We all have goals and when we don’t meet them we usually feel horrible, or pretty close to it. We look at what we are missing instead of looking at what we did do well. Validating ourselves for doing a great job, even if we flopped, is not what we know.

It’s weird, uncomfortable, and may even feel in authentic.

But how is beating up on yourself authentic, really? What we learn, we all find out we need to unlearn, and this is the key to turn any “failure” into a success.

You don’t have to go into analyzer mode, to therapy, or down the “Why do I always do this?” hole, it’s a waste of time. What you can do is experiment with building the same muscle I did and start to shift your energy and see what is working. Validate yourself, no matter what the outcome, and no longer use drama bonding as your go-to for connection.

It’s easy… YOU got this!

First, tell yourself you are doing a great job. Even if it’s not your “normal” thing to do. Even if it seems weird or awkward. And the thing is, most things that are new will.

Write it in your journal, send yourself an email, or say it aloud.

Celebrate even if you put yourself out there and no one showed up. Validate you did the work or you didn’t. If you made a mess, tell yourself you did a great job messing it up. (Yes, really.)

Second, do the above step daily. Like any muscle or habit, it takes practice. The more you do it, the more you focus on what is working, the more you get things that work. Make sense?

Focus on what does not work and see how much of that you’re getting?

Third, for those of you who want to improve what you did, try this. Instead of what you could do better, ask yourself, “How could I make this experience the best it could be. What would I want to experience?”

First, tell yourself you did a great job, and it’s OK to be learning. And see what you’ve learned and how you can still feel good about yourself, and use it to serve in an even better way.

Lastly, if you feel resistance to this, no biggie. Notice it, validate it, and then see what is coming up. Maybe celebrating yourself, even if what you did was not exactly what you wanted, may seem like you’re not being authentic.

My recommendation is to actually question what you are about to do instead, is if this is authentic for you, like I mentioned earlier in the post.

If something does not work out – celebrate whatever did go well. Click to tweet…

This will build over time, and the more you enjoy it, the easier it will be.

Feeling better? NOW, let’s put this into action and build this new muscle.  

I want to hear from you, sweet soul! Tell me in the comments below where you can validate yourself TODAY and say you are doing a great job. Even if it’s something you messed up.

(Ex: I’m doing a great job at taking care of myself.)

If you want to look at something that did not go as planned, you can find something there, or just say I’m doing a great job at making my bed everyday.

And if you have any other tools, tips or suggestions of how you turned yourself around from something not going as planned, tell us that, too!

Thank you, sweet soul, for commenting, sharing your heart, and for doing a great job!

You Angel of Fire,






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  1. Love this…and have felt this MANY MANY MANY times. I’ve learned to switch gears quickly now when something doesn’t work out – but I take the things that DID work out with me and apply it to my next project. Thank you for your heart Hillary! xo

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Thank you Jackie! I love that you take the things that DID work out and apply it to what is next. You are welcome. xo

  2. Hi Hillary — great post and so true! We all need to stop and take an inventory of all the great things that happen on any given day and celebrate them!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      thank you Kathryn! Where are you doing a good job? Love to know.

      • Hi Hillary — I’m doing a great job reflecting on what went well and what didn’t go as expected with a given project. This practice allows me space to step away from the experience with a clearer idea of changes I can put into place next time around while remembering the things that really hit the mark.

        • Hillary Rubin says:

          I love that Kathryn! I love to hear how you can make the experience even better one. Way to go!

  3. I DO do a great job making my bed everyday! And I’m also doing a great job allowing myself to find balance in my life.

  4. Joy J Kramer Regis says:

    I can relate to this a lot but recently I have been trying to check myself when those thoughts come in my head. Today I have been focusing on enjoying the present moments more. And when those negative thoughts come in, on what I could be doing differently or something not being enough, I breathe, close my eyes and celebrate that I am in the process of training myself to think a bit different. 😉

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Awesome Joy! I love how you are practicing this and seeing how you can train how you think. You are doing a great job! 🙂

  5. I can so relate to this post! There have been a couple of things in the last year that just didn’t go the way I thought they would/should, but I decided to stop beating myself up. I am focusing on the things that are going well and shifting my focus on the others. So far it’s working quite well. 🙂

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Cool Gannon! What can you see you did well in them even if it’s handling how it unfolded? Curious to know. 🙂

  6. Hillary, I love this post. My daily gratitude practice & my daily Self-Care practice helps me realign and see the wins each day.

    Recently, with your nudge, I realized that I was still not fully “there” in the abundance mind-set. Now.. I IN .. I can see where I was waiting until someday to give to myself consistently. NO MORE. I’m all in baby!

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Elena, I’m happy to hear it resonated with you. I love how you are in and allowing yourself to have this mindset and create more of it in your life. Rock it out sister. 🙂

  7. This is something I do consistently and I am so happy you wrote about this. I have learned and still learn to not focus on all I do wrong. I still have A LOT of work in the abundance and money mindset department.

    What have I done right? I am taking the steps I need to move toward the goal of becoming an Addiction Nutrition Consultant. I have already create my own unique health and wellness program that I teach at my local recovery center and now I will be a featured blogger for a recovery online network as well as being the Admin and State Admin for The Addict’s Mom. Now, I want to consolidate my scattered pieces (my website/blog) into one cohesive flowing website.

    • Hillary Rubin says:

      Cool Jennifer! I love the steps you are taking and the work you are doing. Seems there is a lot of ease and joy here for you. Keep focusing on what you are doing well even in the abundance & money mindset department – I’m sure you are doing many things well there too! 🙂

  8. Dear Hillary!
    I ♡ your paradigm shift to celebrate with a daily ritual! Feels abundant and just liberating.

  9. I believe in this 100%. Focusing on what’s working changes EVERYTHING. An excellent book on this topic is “Breaking the Rules” by Kurt Wright. Thanks Hilary.

  10. Important topic to discuss. When things don’t work out the way I hope, sometimes I get mad. Sometimes I shrug it off. And other times I am grateful. It would be lovely if I felt every failure were a gift, but alas, I have a mind. Damn ego.


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