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How to Deal with the Unexpected

by Daniel Stewart


July 2014
Photo courtesy NWHS

The way we respond to delays, mistakes, missed opportunities and unexpected changes is called our challenge response and how we react to them often determines how successful we’ll be. While we can’t always plan for these challenges, we can certainly plan how to handle them.

One way to improve our challenge response is to create a list of the mental and physical tools that can help us cope with challenges and then use our list to create four different riding plans.

  • Plan A: This plan is created for when everything is going well. Using the tools from our list, we plan for the night before, morning of, 30 minutes before, 10 minutes before. This could include a relaxing rest the night before, motivating music the morning of, and so on.
  • The Quickie Plan: This is created for when we’re feeling rushed or pressured (the trailer had a flat tire, etc.). Since we don’t have time for all of Plan A, we simply choose the most important pieces of it, such as visualizing a motivating memory, etc.
  • The Hurry Up and Wait Plan: This plan is designed for unexpected delays—most shows suffer some sort of delay so it’s important to be prepared. We might plan to dismount, stretch, or re-imagine our ride during a delay.
  • The OH NO Plan: This plan is designed for when we’ve done everything right and it still goes wrong. As soon as we say “oh no” we begin this plan. We might take a deep breath here and repeat a motto like: “When behind never give up—when it front never let up.”

Remember: Plan your ride and when challenges arrive, ride your plan.


Published December 2013 Issue

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