We have this idea that if our plans don’t work out, we’ve failed. And over time, it becomes not just about situations and plans failing—we start to label ourselves as failures. When we do that, we develop a mentality that disables us from progressing forward because we want to avoid the pain of feeling like a failure, and we automatically begin to assume we’re likely to fail at any big goal we set.
This is why the word “failure” sucks. It is the starting point of a spiral of negative thinking that gets you absolutely nowhere.
Here’s the thing.
What you’re excited about most isn’t achieving some far-off end goal. It’s the idea of progress and growth that you’re after. It’s that feeling you get after a day of hard and focused work—the feeling that your day mattered, that you progressed, that you grew and helped others grow.
Sometimes, getting so caught up in your “plan” does the opposite of what it was intended to do. You’re so busy trying to follow a specific plan in one corner, that you miss the bigger possibilities in another corner.
Planning is important. But, equally so is flexibility. Stuff is always going to come up. You’re going to have lazy days. You’re going to get sick occassionally. There will be family and friend and work emergencies. Sometimes, you’ll just need a day off to chill out and play in the sun.
It’s less about being set on one plan, one way of things being possible—and more about how your head, heart and gut are all working together within yourself.
Each of those three “places” out of which you make decisions come with their own set of strengths and challenges:
- Your head will try to be rational and safe when you should be taking big leaps and defying odds instead. But it will also keep you grounded and focused so you can implement whatever big plans you develop.
- Your heart (i.e. crazy-ass feelings) will create strong urges in you to make impulsive decisions based on how you’re feeling in the moment (otherwise known as short-term gratification). But, it’s also the part of you that will help you connect authentically with yourself and those around you. It’s the source of giving and receiving love.
- Your gut is just awesome. It will never lead you the wrong way. It takes practice to get really in-tune with your gut, so as not to mistake it with thoughts that stem from your head and/or heart. But once you tune in and understand what is gut and what isn’t, you’ll know exactly what you should do whenever you get a “gut feeling.” The downside to listening to your gut is that you can come across as irrational, impulsive, inconsiderate, and non-PC to others. Just remember that the reason you’re coming across that way to them is because they’re struggling with their own dramas and aren’t quite in-tune yet with their own guts. Be gentle with them and yourself. Follow your gut always anyway.
Your job is to make sure you maximize the strengths of all three, while consciously mitigating the challenges of each.
When you are aligned within yourself, you’ll have a very different perspective on your plans—you’ll be far less attached to them, and as a result, better able to get to where you want to go regardless of what the plan ultimately looks like.
Because the truth is, if Plan A doesn’t work, there are 25 other letters in the alphabet.
Worry less about your plan, and more about how you’re thinking through it.