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Robert Burns Was Right

Hundreds of years ago, the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, penned the famous lines:

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men

Gang aft agley,

In our family, we have our own translation, "Life happens when you have other things planned."

When that statement rolls off a family member's tongue, we chuckle and know the insinuation contains a couple of core beliefs. The first one is that there ought to be a plan for a well-lived life, and secondly, that interruptions not only will occur but also we should expect them.

Both core beliefs require effort, work, and a thoughtful approach. Foundational to those beliefs is that our placement in the world is not an accident. We are created for purpose and meaning, invited to participate in the larger world for our good and for others' benefit.

We all have influence over at least one person, so thereby definition, we all are leaders. Whether we work in the C-Suite or are a big sister or anything in between, we have an essential role in developing our leadership IQ. Leveling up improves our effectiveness helps us live a fulfilling life in purpose on purpose!

I think life ought to work! Messy relationships, failure, sickness, extreme highs and lows all provide the fodder to create a great life. My foundational beliefs became challenged 18 years ago when I received the dreaded diagnosis of late-stage cancer. I asked myself, “What about my plans? What now? Is my usefulness done?” To navigate that challenge, I needed an army of support, and yes, Coaches, Counselors, Ministers, and friends all helped our family overcome.

And yes, Robert Burns was right—our plans often go astray or do not result in the fruition for which we hoped. The good news is that with gentle nudging of friends and the careful coaching work of professionals, we can get back on track with new plans!

Julie Sies, the owner of Exponential Functions, LLC, is an International Coaching Federation ACC Life Coach and an accredited Transformational Leadership Trainer and Coach. For more information, find her at Schedule a complimentary meeting on her website. Check out her upcoming leadership class and coaching program @

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