Sometimes through change and adversity we find our life’s purpose – the eye sheds a tear to find its focus. ~Robert Brault

No matter how well we plan, from time to time life will present us with unexpected change, or an outright detour. While these challenges may initially throw us off balance, rather than a reason for frustration or despair, such times provide an opportunity for renewed determination and growth.

Whatever our goals may be … to climb the next rung on the corporate ladder, embark on a new career, begin a new business, or explore an exciting opportunity in a new part of the country … it’s imperative that we learn to value and enjoy the journey itself because the truth is it is next-to-impossible to continually move in a straight line from here . . . to . . . there.

In fact, this is where life’s inevitable challenges so often throw us for a loop. We become so focused on getting there, that we are at a loss when a detour appears in our path.

It doesn't matter how a detour arrives in your life, when it appears, it’s time to consult the map and find a new route.

How we view and respond to unexpected circumstances is the key to what happens next. Rather than giving up on plans and goals, and cursing the detours that life throws our way, we can choose to challenge ourselves to explore what they have to offer. In other words, you may not be moving in the direction you originally intended to go, but you can still make positive progress.

In fact, if we can learn to embrace the occasional obstacle and look for the benefit in it, we may be able to turn the detour into an opportunity for growth, and discover a much more exciting and fulfilling journey than the one we had planned!

Tips to help you move forward:

* Face Reality: Whether just trying to get back on track with goals, or facing a major life transition, it’s important to first step back and assess the situation honestly … especially if something is ending in your life … your life as a mother with children living at home; you are no longer single, married, employed, etc. Whenever you’re faced with a detour, the most important thing is to not become paralyzed and give up all the progress you’ve made to that point. Become clear about the situation, decide what needs to be done, and grow through it to become stronger and more confident.

* Don’t waste time on ‘could-a, would-a, should-a, or if only I’d-a’ thinking: Far too often when we encounter an obstacle we end up either wasting time beating ourselves, up because somehow we should have predicted the stumbling block, or we throw in the towel and just give up. This is where having a Plan B (or even Plan C) comes in handy. But even if you don’t have a back-up plan now, suck-it-up and keep moving forward. This is your life we’re talking about after all!

* Revisit your vision for the life you want to create: You can usually recover from minor detours pretty easily by revisiting, and if necessary revising, the priorities and goals you established for yourself; evaluating where you are now, and making any required a course correction.

But with more serious or life altering detours, your core priorities may have changed, so even before revisiting goals, it’s critical to revisit why you started this journey in the first place. Reasons come first, answers come second. If you have a big enough vision, the way to get back on track and achieve your goals will become clear.

* Get rid of the negativity in your life: If there are things (or people) in your life that have been dragging you down, now is the time to get rid of them. This can be tough, but it is absolutely necessary. A successful start over is not achieved by dragging into your new life the same things or people that may have contributed to past failures or unhappiness.

* Recommit to your priorities and goals: Once you've reaffirmed your vision and priorities, you’ll be far less likely to spend time agonizing about the actions you should focus on next.

Life is filled with twists and turns and the occasional detour. Few journeys are ever a straight shot. The opportunities of these experiences can never fully be appreciated until we find the courage to face the inevitable uncertainty.

The good news is change, even the occasional start-over, is rarely as difficult as we anticipate; and in going through the process we grow stronger, more confidence and ever more resilient for the experience.

Author's Bio: 

Marquita Herald is a transformation guide, the creator of the life by design blog IGG-Tips, Tools & Tantalizing Ideas, and the author of three books, Stepping Stones to Greater Resilience, Inspirational Words of Wisdom for Challenging Times, and It's Your Time Now - A Guide to Living Your Life by Design.

She writes to inspire readers to reach a little beyond what's comfortable to achieve goals that matter ... refuse to accept simply "getting along" in life out of fear or limiting beliefs ... to make the choices each day that will over time create the fulfilling life you really want for yourself ... and to choose happiness, each and every day.

Marquita's professional background includes a successful 20 year career in hotel sales and marketing followed by a decade as a life and small business coach.

To learn more about becoming more resilient in life, please visit her at