This interview is a segment of а 3-part series on creating opportunities out of failed plans. You can see the main article, with a simple exercise, over here. The other interview of the series, with traveler Tsveti Mitova, is available here. 

Borislava Yakova is a psychologist, relationships consultant, mother, and an amazing woman that I am very proud of knowing. We got our bachelor’s degrees in psychology together, and even though each of us continued on her own path after, we’ve always followed each other’s work closely. So I am very happy that now, just when Borislava officially opened here office, we were able to have a conversation on dealing with failed plans and creating opportunities out of them. 

How to turn failed plans into new opportunities
Psychologist Borislava Yakova with her daughter Dara

You can read the interview with Borislava below and follow her on Instagram. We would both love to know how you felt about what you read here so let us know in the comments or on social media! 

What’s your first reaction when plans start to go south? 

I would separate my answer in two periods – how I used to be before my child was born, and after. Before Dara, I was extreme and would have a harsh reaction when plans failed, especially if it was as a result of somebody else’s actions.  

But ever since Dara came into my life, and I think generally when you have a kid, you see how many things just aren’t in your power. What I do now, when a plan fails, is to try and find some other way to make my wishes come true. Another place or time. I learned that kids make us a lot more flexible and adaptive. 

After your initial reaction to a failed plan, what do you aim your thoughts and actions at? 

I consider what my options are for going through with what I wanted. I don’t give up, I just move on. The way that I see, whatever has to happen will happen, it’s just a matter of time and patience. 

Would you tell us about one time when failed plans created space for a new opportunity? 

Now that you ask, I remember wanting to study journalism. I went to take the exam and wrote a great essay but at the last moment, I made a spelling mistake. Because of that, I got a D on the exam and wasn’t accepted to the program. But what happened helped me discover a different path, towards psychology, which definitely feels like the right profession for me. 

And another one – this year I turned 30 and just like many other people, I celebrated my birthday all by myself. No friends of family, apart from my baby daughter. This helped me rethink how simple everything can be and how we often attribute too much importance to trivial things.  

What would you like for your baby daughter Dara to know about plans and mental flexibility?

I really want her to learn to be adaptive and flexible because I believe these are some of the most important qualities of our time. I don’t agree with the phrase “Plans are made to be changed.” Instead, I’d like her to know that plans give us a frame, they provide security and predictability to our goals. But I’d also love for her to leave space to chance, which sometimes does a wonderful job in our lives. 

Hopefully, she’ll imagine plans as a trip – you know where you want to go but if you see a beautiful place along the way, meet interesting people, or encounter an exciting adventure, you dive in. You won’t deviate from the final goal. Quite the opposite – it can make the journey that much more memorable and enriching. 

The interview with Borislava Yakova is an element of a 3-part series on creating opportunities out of failed plans. You can read the core story with a psychological exercise here, and the other interview, with traveler Tsvety Mitova is here.