I bet you have a plan. Not for your life. But, for something, you have a plan. A plan for dinner, a plan for when you will see a movie, a plan for getting out of making Christmas dinner this year. As humans, we like plans. When I have a plan I feel on top of things. I feel certainty. I have a plan after all. And often a good plan has contingencies, so no surprise rainstorm, flu or last minute flakiness will derail this plan.
Having a plan is great to get where you are going, right?
Not so Fast
Which plan though? This is like a buffet table. Do you load up your plate with the first food you like? Or do you survey the whole buffet, consider your options, and then load up the plate?
No one ever died from being uncomfortable and not knowing
‘Something is better than nothing’ is a mantra I’m telling you to drop right now. Too often when I work with people they will take the first thing that comes along that seems reasonable rather than be uncomfortable in not knowing for one more second. They hate not knowing. They hate the feeling of groundlessness. They hate having to answer that question over and over again from those around them about what they plan to do next in their career/life. Confessing to parents, sibling, relatives or friends that you have no idea what you are doing next brings up feelings of shame for many. Milliseconds after that shame the negative self talks on the inside usually. That small voice in your head that knew you would never amount to anything, that you have wasted all the best chances you’ll ever get. That voice wants you to make a decision NOW!
So What do you do?
Be brave. Find your courage and don’t be so quick to fill up that space that is empty in your life. That space for your future that you just don’t quite have figured out yet? Hang out a FOR RENT sign. Or SPACE AVAILABLE sign for the entire universe to see. Nature abhors a vacuum, so see how long you can keep it open. And get curious about the number of ways you might fill it. Ponder. Get bright ideas. Get terrible ideas. But resist the urge to make a decision. For now.
If you are worried about the future, and don’t have a plan, try out these tips to keep the space open so that you have a better chance of working towards what you really want, instead of settling for what seems to be showing up. As the old saying goes:
The real danger isn’t that you’ll aim high and miss, the real danger is that you will aim low and hit.
- Make a list of your possible plans. Crazy and reasonable plans. You want variety. Choose one for a day and pretend that’s your plan. Live the day feeling like that is your decision and see how it ‘feels’. The next day, try another one on for size.
- Tell trusted people (the ones in your corner who are your cheerleaders) three of your ideas (be sure to have a crazy one in the mix) and notice their reactions and notice how you felt while you told them. Excited? Invested? Embarrassed? Which ideas did you find you were rooting for?
- Ask your inner five year old which plan he/she would choose.
- Choose the one you love most in this moment, and then let it go. Don’t act on it or announce that it is your plan. Wait for the next brilliant plan. Trust that another one is out there. See what shows up. Check in after a week and see what other plans surfaced and add them to the list.
Benefits of this exercise
- Making space by staying with not knowing allows more of your life to show up. The richness of the universe can be on display and on offer.
- Give you a chance to practice loving your life as it is today, instead of wishing for ‘another now’ that is better than this one
- Get out of your head. Your logical brain doesn’t know it all. Tap into the wisdom of your intuition/ heart and body.