A Post On Planning

July 28, 2017 § 1 Comment


“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

This saying is adapted from a line in a poem entitled: “To a Mouse,” written in 1785 by Robert Burns. It is said that Burns was ploughing his fields and accidentally destroyed a mouse’s nest, leaving the mouse without adequate shelter to survive the winter.

It’s meaning – it doesn’t matter how carefully something is planned, there’s always the possibility that something will go wrong with it.

Over the last several months, I have been stuck in planning paralysis. Everything I looked at, I would envision down the last detail, spending days, if not weeks, coming up with action plans and detailed descriptions and dreams for everything from wall decor ideas for my home to events I thought would be fun to full-blown business and marketing plans.

I kept coming back to wanting an instruction manual as to how I was going to proceed in the coming months, my blueprints to success. The problem was, as much as I was spending time in the dreaming and “planning” of what I wanted, I wasn’t executing on any of it. Six month later, I had moved a couple of rocks, but for the most part I was in exactly the same place as before… minus a few more dollars.

My coach said to me:

“Wendy, you’re such a prairie girl when it comes to your dreams. It’s like you can see the details for miles. Come spent some time in the twists and turns of the mountains and you can’t see around the next bend until you get there.”

I’ve since stopped “planning”. That is, I’ve stopped writing down action steps I’m probably not going to take.

There are some people for which having their instructions written down before they begin their journey works very well for them. They’ve studied their maps, made their routes and know their milestones and points of interest.

What I’ve learned is that I’m not one of those people. But I have also had to learn how to harness my dreaming and scheming and move between the imaginary and the reality of what I’m trying to build.

When I think about how I approached my 18 months of travels, I knew the big broad picture – I was going on an adventure – but I filled in the details as I went. I booked flights a couple of months in advance for when I wanted to switch continents, I booked my accommodations a few days out from my arrival and I decided what to do with my day to day often the day of. The best part – I liked it like that and I still travel that way. Ebbing and flowing in a general direction while I twist and wind my way through interesting stopovers.

Could there be a clearly instruction manual for me on how to proceed than that?

In my experience, my best laid plans often do go awry – or more like they don’t go at all.

What about you? What have you found is your preferred approach to life and planning (or not)?


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