Manage the Unknown and Unexpected

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September 6, 2016 – Issue 41
Photo: Disasters (Joey Flathead) ©

Do you struggle with planning for tomorrow, next week or even next month let alone trying to be prepared for the Unknown and Unexpected?   No matter whether the situation is natural or man-made, many people simply are unprepared.

Even planners like myself, can be guilty of not always being totally prepared for the unknown or unexpected.  For example an Earthquake, I have the supplies but have not allocated them into one location or bag to grab and go if it was necessary to leave our home.

In project management, for each of our projects, we have to consider what could be the unknowns and unexpected and to try and plan for them.  That is why we have a contingency plan and budget to be ready for whatever may come up that we have been unable to plan for.  This strategy can also be applied to your everyday life, business and/or job.

“It’s better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.
~Jacki Joyner-Kersee

Let’s identify a possible list of the Unknown and Unexpected events which you could possible experience and how you could be prepared with a plan to deal with them or have something set-up to prevent or reduce the trauma and stress you are likely to experience.  Let’s break it down into groups.

Personal Life:

  • House / car fire
  • Major car accident
  • Major illness
  • Break-in
  • A sudden death in the family
  • Natural disaster – earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes, floods, ice storms
  • Power outages
  • Crime
  • Terrorist attack

Provision:  Purchase the appropriate insurance to cover house and car for fire, accident, break-in and natural disasters.  Attain disability and life insurance which can cover any funeral and future expenses.  As well, having a solid savings account can be a beneficial to deal with some of outcomes from the above unknowns and unexpected events in your personal life.


  • Job loss
  • Change in jobs
  • Major injury on the job

Provision:  Having a solid savings account definitely can help to deal with a job loss or injury as well as having insurance in place to cover the expenses during this difficult time.  Although you may have a well-paying job it is wise to prevent overextending yourself with financial expenses in the first place.  Plan a well thought out budget on how you will spend and save your biweekly paycheque.


  • Loss of a large client account
  • Decrease sales
  • Break-in and thief
  • Computer being hacked
  • Business partner – breakup or death
  • Lawsuit

Provision:  Obtain insurance for your business, seek legal input and secure the necessary contracts.  Always back up your documents and ensure you have the necessary security to cover your business needs.  Create a strategy plan to deal with how you will manage your marketing and sales.


  • Flight delay or missed flights
  • Lost luggage
  • Illness or accidents while on vacation
  • Natural disaster
  • Terrorist attack
  • Thief

Provision:  Purchase the necessary travel and medical insurance.  Always carry a copy of your passport, a list of items you have in your suitcase, medications and your medical conditions.   When traveling abroad, register with your embassy, this will make it easier for your government to contact and assist you to safety if ever necessary.  Always bring two credit cards that are acceptable in the country you are traveling, keep one in the hotel safe, therefore, if one is stolen you still have another one to use.

“One should expect that the expected can be prevented,
but the unexpected should have been expected.”
~Norman R. Augustine

For several of the Unknown and Unexpected circumstances identified, they can be minimized if not possibly prevented with some planning and preparation.  However, there will always be a few situations which you can’t avoid if they occur; you will simply have to deal with them at the time if and when they happen and seek assistance from the appropriate individuals/organization.  Consequently, you will be better prepared if you plan and deal for these Unknown and Unexpected events since you never know if they could occur in your future.  Therefore Be Prepared!

PLAN for Your Success!


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