The Game of Thrones Finale, or How to Handle it When Things Don’t Go the Way You Wanted Them to

I’ve been thinking about the Game of Thrones finale for a few days now, and it’s taken me a while to process not just the finale, but my emotions towards it.

I’ll be honest. This didn’t end way I wanted it to end.

Khaleesi and jon snowI have very different expectations and desires for these characters and situations. It’s taken me a while to handle the fact that they’re not where I want them to be. And in processing it, it’s made me think about how to handle all kinds of disappointment in life, personally, professionally, and fictionally too.

There are many things that are outside of our control when we’re making plans. We should consider those things as part of our strategy when developing a plan. Our first step is to actively identify them and flag them as “things that could screw up my plans.“

Our next step is trying to map out what problems they could cause. Try outlining a different path your plans might take if things take a different turn. See what happens. Play out the thought experiment.

Imagine you are planning a launch of a new product. One thing you can’t control may be what your competitors do. So imagine they launch a similar product  – two days before your launch. What does that mean for you and your product? How would it impact your launch, your marketing, your messaging?

Do you remember what I said earlier about identifying the problems these things could cause?  An extremely important part is actually changing the way you think about this.

Instead of thinking of them as problems to be solved, consider them differently. Change your perspective. Think of them instead as new opportunities. Sure, they threw a wrench in your plans, but that doesn’t mean you have to go into a tailspin. Learn to see how you can use these changes to your advantage, instead of being knocked over and out by them.

Don’t send in your dragons to scorch the work you’ve done, or beat yourself up because things didn’t work out. Instead, make plans for the scenarios you can come up with. My Home Ec teacher taught me something that I will never forget. She was referring to having our sugar cookies come out properly, but I find it to be extremely useful in virtually every aspect of my life (including baking sugar cookies).

She said, in her southern drawl, “ Nobody plans to fail. They just fail to plan.” So make contingency plans for the issues you can think of happening.

And then, as much as it pains me to do so, I’m going to reference Karl Rove and his infamous “unknown unknowns” line.

Do you remember it, he talked about the known knowns, known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns. People thought he was talking gibberish or maybe had taken a blow to the head at the time.

I thought it made perfect sense. There are things that you know could happen, but don’t know if they will. These are the known unknowns. Take our earlier example. You could plan for a competitor launching a similar product close to your launch.

What about the things you never even thought could happen? Take September 11. Did anyone have a contingency plan for that? No. And lots of organizations were impacted by it . So they had to come up with a plan during the crisis.  They may have had some other disaster plans they could adapt, but no one had 9/11 on their radar. But the more you think through different scenarios, the more skilled you become at developing plans on the fly.

Bringing us back to Game of Thrones may well be impossible for me in this article. But I applied this whole thought process to my view of the ending –  the whole final season to be honest- and I feel a little better about the whole thing now. Now I’m just waiting for the inevitable spinoffs of “Anya’s  Adventures”, “Sansa’s Struggles”, and “Jon Snow 2: Electric Bugaloo”. Maybe those will fill my need for the satisfying ending I crave!


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