My husband will tell you that one of the major differences between the two of us is that I’m a planner and he’s not. While I sweat every detail, he rolls with the punches and figures things out as he goes. We try to balance each other out – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes we drive each other crazy.
Planning is in my nature. I like to know when I get up in the morning what I’ll be doing that day. I like to have my schedule set, my meals mapped out, and my exercise completed by somebody else. It feels right to me (especially that last part.)
But when it comes to the big stuff, sometimes you have to accept that there are too many unknowns to plan it all out. You can’t wait for everything to fall perfectly in line to pursue your goals – you’ll never get anywhere.
That’s why I’m grateful that I ignored my own natural tendencies and left my last job three years ago with no plan. Even though I found a lot of success in my position, once I acknowledged that I had hit the proverbial glass ceiling I made the decision to get out pretty quickly. So that’s what I did. With no plan for the future.
Did I mention that I had no plan? Because I cannot stress enough that I had no plan.
I always knew I’d have a business one day, but I didn’t know what it would be. I planned on making a plan for that. I didn’t realize that, plan or no plan, when I handed over my keys to the racetrack I was deciding to move forward right then and there.
It was scary. I had no idea what I was getting into. And I’m glad.
Looking back, I now that there was no amount of planning that would have prepared me for this journey. Actually, a plan probably would have held me back – there are just too many unknowns, too many live wires, and too many places to get off track.
As scared as I was then, if I had seen the plan for the next few years I would have been paralyzed by fear. And I probably wouldn’t have a successful business today.
When it comes to major decisions, like quitting your job, most people err on the side of planning. It makes sense – we all have some level of responsibility, whether it’s owning a home or having a family to take care of. A plan is supposed to help us make the right decisions, keep us safe if things don’t work out and tell us what to do next. But plans rarely work out the way you want them to, even if you are a mad genius (see also: Dr. Evil and Mr. Bigglesworth.)
If you’re working on a dream, here’s my advice – don’t try to figure it all out at once.
Just figure out what the next right action is, and do that. Assess where you’ve ended up and what you’ve learned, then repeat. You’ll probably fail a few times and fall on your face now and again. But you’ll fall forward.
And that, my dear friend, is progress.