THIS. THIS. THIS. Maxie and I were just texting each other about plans and what to do when plans go wrong or don’t happen on our timeline. We also both took an enneagram test and (no surprise) were the exact same type and wing. We’re different in some ways, but I think we really understand each other on a deep level because we’re very alike with the same fears and concerns and wants in life. (I think it’s why we are the best people for each other for pep talks and to call each other out on our BS!)
What You Must Know About All Your Planning
Guest Post by Maxie McCoy
Raise your hand if you love a good plan! Consider both of my hands raised. SO many of us like knowing how we’re going to go about doing something, what’s needed, who’s involved, and what our intended outcomes are. There’s something about planning that makes the unknown a little bit more manageable. Or so we like to believe.
The reality is, it doesn’t matter how perfect your plan is, you still cannot completely control for what may or may not happen. Even if you’ve spent every ounce of energy planning…your plan could still blow up. There’s a ton of reasons for this – because you can’t control other people and many times our plan involves other people. Because there are many circumstances that you’d never know to account for. Because life isn’t a plan. Rather, it’s big and beautiful and scary and interesting and above all…unpredictable.
I’ve had all kinds of plans not go according to plan – travel plans. Life plans. Plans for relationships. Plans for making money. Plans for my health. Plans for a book. Plans for my future. You name the plan, and it’s probably sitting on my computer somewhere in spreadsheet format. Half the time, everything has turned out far better than I ever could have imagined. The other half felt like crap in the moment but it, too, resulted in exactly where I was supposed to be.
When plans fall apart or break down, I want you to remember a few things:
Go with it. The worst thing you can do is to fight a plan that’s breaking down. You’ll drive yourself crazy. You’ll get super emotional. It’s like fighting quicksand…you’ll sink quicker. Instead, find the ways that you can discover ease with this new inevitable direction. Instead of wishing for what was, be real with what is. You’ll regain precious time and enjoy the process of getting to wherever you’re going a little bit more.
There’s more than just one way. It doesn’t all have to be your way or the highway. If something unexpected happens to your plans, and maybe new factors get introduced or new opinions get involved, remember that there’s many routes to the same destination. Or, if your plan didn’t work and you didn’t get the outcome you wanted, remember there’s a power in stretching yourself and trying a different approach. If you want to get different results, you’re required to try a different plan.
It’s happening for you. If you’re really upset or worked up about the fact that you’re not getting what you want, and that extenuating circumstances or major setbacks or difficult challenges have appeared in the midst of your plan, you’ve got to remember that none of this is happening to you (although I know it feels that way), it’s happening for you (according to Oprah). The more you can remind yourself of this in the moment when it feels like everything is blowing up, the quicker you’ll get to exactly where you’re supposed to be.
You don’t have to ditch your plans. Just find a little bit more wiggle room, both for yourself, and in how you go about doing things, so you don’t become a slave to the very plans that were supposed to give you the freedom to create the exact life you’ve wanted. Setbacks will inevitably show up, but you get to decide how to deal with them.