Napoleon’s Battle Plan

Life shifts can all at once: kids starting kindergarten (or college), retirement, even the first day of summer break. One day your life is consistent; suddenly, profoundly different.

There is a certain amount of preparation you can take for these tectonic shifts, but beyond a certain point, you have to commit to what I’ve come to call Napoleon’s Battle Plan, after an episode of Aaron Sorkin’s Sports Night.

  1. Show up.
  2. See what happens.


Napoleon’s Battle Plan requires you to be nimble. You can do all you want ahead of time, but you need to be able to react quickly to what things look like once you’ve arrived.

I’m anticipating the medium-sized shift of summer next week, which always wallops me with how big a transition it is. Then in the fall, I’ve been preparing for over a year for the day that I see all of my kids get on a bus for school.

I’ve been preparing, certainly. I’ll be ready. But I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ll simply have to balance my preparation with Napoleon’s Battle Plan.

What changes are you getting ready for? Are you willing and ready to react when you arrive?