Monday, July 19, 2010

Failing to plan is planning to fail

Few things get me more giddy then coming up with a brilliant plan. One of my most memorable plans was at work, an implementation plan for a new systems release. I had documented all the steps, considered all the potential points of failure, factored in contingency measures, had it team reviewed, had dry-runs performed against it, made numerous revisions (each one more perfect than the last). And when it came time to work the plan, it was a smooooth ride. We just turned off our brains and let the plan lead us. Ahhh, just thinking about my baby makes me really happy.

Now here's the bad. Planning for the future does not keep you present. Yes, here we go again The Power of Now. At some point I'm going to stop blogging about it and just live it. I'm learning that life does not go according to my plan, no matter how righteous I may think my plan is. And when life is no where close to my plan, I start to lose it. Like a spoiled child who does not get her way, I get really angry at life for disappointing me. And then I get angry at myself for not being more accepting of my fate. And then I go back to being angry that my planning was a complete waste of time.

I think the problem with me and planning is that I hang a lot of my happiness on the future. I'll be happy when ... I own a house, I get married, I have a child, two children, three children, etc. etc. By yearning for external pleasures, they can only bring temporary fulfillment because ... nothing lasts! Anything I gain can just as easily be taken away and so I'm left with emotional pain from the loss and a thirst for more to fill the void. Pretty much everyone is in this boat, except for maybe the Dali Lama.

There's nothing wrong with planning for the future and dreaming about a better life. Planning is one of my talents -- I think I can even make a career out of it. It's the obsessing about it -- to the point that I'm spending way too much time thinking about my amazing plans instead of just living my life and being present. That's what I've got to change.

Baby steps. I can feel things improving. For starters I don't waste time planning out details -- better to go with general plans. I also roll with things better when life starts to veer off the plan. I can thank my kids for teaching me that one.
It's also boring when everything goes according to my plan. Why be limited by my own creativity? Life is much more fun that that. I'm learning to relax and be more spontaneous and it feels AWESOME.

Time and place for everything once again. Planning is still a big part of me, but one I'm pretty sure I can control.... most of the time. :-)

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