tree in the mountains

I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret about PLANS:

They don’t always work out the way you plan them.

What?!? You knew that? Damn, I thought I was onto something.

But seriously, most of us get our knickers in a twist about plans at some time or another, especially when we compare our progress to OPP — whatever we make up about Other People’s Plans — and how they’re so much further ahead and have it so much more together than we do.

For example, you may have read my article about what happened to my business after quitting social media for four months and thought, “Wow! That Steph has a plan,” even though I wrote a disclaimer about while the actions I took may look strategic, they came from real-time inspiration, not a plan. I truly had no idea what I was going to do when I jumped off Facebook!

Our little minds love making connections, linking cause to effect, and designing “plans” to follow for guaranteed results. 

Here’s how we think it works:

We create a step by step plan we’ve borrowed, stolen or adapted from various experts, gurus or friends…

…and as long as we follow it perfectly (ha!) we’ll get the same results they did.

My plan looks like it gives me the power to control the outcome, so I can feel safe.

Here’s how it actually works:

We try a bunch of stuff that occurs to us (whether it was planned or not)…

…some of it works and some of it doesn’t….

…our inner GPS keeps redirecting us real-time in response to the environment towards our intended destination, whether we listen to it or not.

Our results vary based on factors like experience, engagement, timing and a million other variables we couldn’t possibly quantify.

Then here’s what people do when something actually works:

In hindsight, they see a plan! 

They edit out the detours, false starts and failures on their journey…

…then call it a “proven paint-by-numbers system,” which they deem safe and repeatable, and sell it because they’ve “cracked the code so you don’t have to.”

In case you haven’t gathered, I’m not so keen on that sort of thing. Not that I have a problem with plans; I create a plan for my week and my day based on what I’d like to accomplish, because it gives me structure to relax and create inside.

But it’s a flexible plan and I have permission to ditch any part of it entirely in response to what’s happening. No matter how good I think I am at predicting the future, it never goes the way I think, and Stephanie-from-last-Friday had no idea what Stephanie-from-today would need in this moment.

Disclaimer: that’s just what’s working for me in regards to planning in this moment. This is NOT my recommendation for what you should do. That’s your gig.

But I do encourage you to notice whether the way you’re planning is working for you or not.

Is the structure you’ve created for your week enabling creativity and freedom, without a sense of pressure?

Or are you using it to measure your lack of progress and beat yourself up?

I’ve found that very little that I accomplish in life actually requires a plan — unless that’s what occurs to me to do — and I still get a ton of shit done.

If I tried to control all the variables and limit myself to a predetermined course of action, I’d miss out on the opportunities and surprises that arise in the moment.

Case in point:

Last weekend, my brother invited me on a hike to Molass Pass near Silverton, Colorado, since I’m visiting. The catch: I’d have to drive myself and my canine friend, Tuuka.

I googled the spot and saw that it’s an hour’s drive away on notorious sphincter-puckering, winding Colorado roads.

I’d just flown in the day before and was settling into my new digs. I couldn’t handle the thought of two hours navigating treacherous roads in an unfamiliar vehicle. Not in my insecure state.

So he invited me over to say hello before they left, and on the spot offered to drive us there in someone else’s Jeep.

I’d been looking forward to a quiet afternoon (and a nap) but I said yes. My plans changed, and because I was able to be flexible with them, I got to enjoy this view:

Molas Pass Colorado lake

What scenery are you missing by being too rigid in adhering to your plans?

Or if you’re loosey-goosey when it comes to planning, what if you experiment with a little structure?

Molas Pass Stephanie Benedetto

“To plan or not to plan?” is just one of the questions I help my client-playmates answer for themselves. I have a flexible 1:1 Coaching Journey for coaches, healers and thought-leader entrepreneurs in which you’ll navigate the joyful creation of your business, tap your authentic message and broadcast it to your soulmate clients with playful (Un)Marketing. 

Apply for a free session with me to see what it’s all about.

Yours in creative play,

Steph