The “Plan”

You’re at the race starting line.  You hear:

“Ready? Set? GO!”

And everybody runs but you.  Because you don’t know what you’re doing at the race, what you’re doing at a race when you don’t like running, and why you’re not in bed!

Your plan was a good night’s sleep.  But now you’re awake.  Let’s try again.

You lay down, are very happily relaxing and drift off to sleep.

Suddenly you’re in the middle of  your workplace and everyone comes up to you with questions or things for you to approve.  The only question you’re interested in answering is why are you in your pajamas?!

You jolt awake.  Sigh.  One last try.

It’s quiet and you slip back into sleep. You sleep peacefully for several hours, finally.

“Mom?  Dad?  I can’t sleep…”  Your youngest comes into your bedroom. “Of course,” is all you can think.

In this rather exaggerated example of what happens to great plans, it is obvious that something interfered with your great plan for sleep.  I’ve made and been a part of countless plans that had great intentions and strategies yet still didn’t work out.  Why?  And what can we do about that?

First, recognize that all plans are subject to two uncontrollable factors: life and change.  You never know when the forces of life conspire against you for some reason.  (They may even have a better plan for you).  Chances are good you also forgot to include a margin for the ever-constant change factor in life.

Second, make sure to include in your plan allowances for change and adjustments.  When your plan is strict and must go a certain way, you’re basically planning to fail.  I can’t imagine how many plan b, plan c, or plan d’s the White House has for a road trip that one of the officials take, whether it’s to Iraq, South Africa for the World Cup, the Southern US with the oil spill or on vacation.

Third, even if you don’t have a plan b, make sure that your plan a has options.  Don’t just make it plan a.  The internet was not created with just one web browser, there are many, and each does frequent updates.  I just updated my Firefox to 3.6.4 or something like that.  It’s not just version 3, its 3.6, and not just 3.6 but 3.6.4.

So what’s our action plan for making plans that we can live with?  They must be flexible.  (Sidenote: the planner should be flexible themselves too).  Prepare for change.  Include the advice of others if it’s more than just a plan for a good night’s sleep.  Consciously make your plan, don’t just assume that things will go the way you want them to or think they should.  Make smaller, more doable plans (great for cleaning, organizing, relationship building or anything else!).  Be ready to laugh at the changes the universe *encourages* you to make.

Don’t forget that the plan can’t be greater than the journey.  Enjoy your journey today.

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