I used to be such a planner, always knowing exactly what I’d be doing in the following days, weeks, months… I’d have my tick list, project plan and was renowned for my spreadsheet creations with action plans.
Life is very different now! One of my biggest insights this past year is just to go with the flow. Trusting, knowing that whatever happens, life has a way of always coming back to neutral.
As I write, it is day 86 of our #GlowsTrotting around the world tour. Before we travelled, many people would ask – “What’s the plan? What countries are you visiting?” The truth is, we have planned very little! We did have a goal to get to New Zealand by the end of January, which we have now achieved and we do plan to pop back to the UK in August for a few weeks to celebrate our niece’s wedding – but other than that – not much of a plan. Yes, we plan the logistics, such as booking the next flight (if we have to) and reserving an Airbnb for somewhere to stay in the next few days. But that’s about it. We go with the flow, and opportunities seem to come our way!
Opportunities such as discovering Camelicious – a camel farm selling ice cream from camel’s milk in Dubai; helping out at Tea Leaf Vision charity in Sri Lanka – an awesome experience; chatting to Jacob in Penang Botanical Gardens, who then took us out for the day when we flew to Hong Kong. We’ve had wonderful conversations with people that we’ve met through Facebook, seen wildlife such as otters playing in the sea, and experienced so many amazing places with no action plan, instead go with the flow.
If we had planned an itinerary then I believe we would have missed out on so many wonderful experiences. I’ve realised that too much planning puts the blinkers on, we get too focussed on the next actions and we miss opportunities that arise when we don’t go with the flow. We have expectations, which are either outside our control, or we put too much pressure on ourselves to fulfil the ‘plan’. In the past, my mind would get cluttered with too many thoughts of what to do, what next, what if… When things don’t go according to plan how long does it take us to recover? If we turn this on its head, if there is no plan or expectation, would there be anything to recover from?
We are so conditioned to plan. I feel for young people, so often asked “What do you want to do when you leave school” Many don’t have a clue and this can put unnecessary stress on them. Crikey, I didn’t know what I truly wanted to do until I was 44! What if we didn’t plan so much? Having goals and aims is great, yet I’ve seen that we overburden ourselves with all this planning clutter in our minds. Less thinking, more trusting.
After I wrote my book “Got it”, I took part in a 90 day programme identifying a goal that I had 20% chance of success at, just for the crack, just for the joy of having a go. My goal was to get my book into 20 countries within the 90 days. I believed that I could reach nine (if I was lucky!).
By day 30, I had achieved 19, one week later, 22. I didn’t plan at all. There was no project plan, no gant charts, no ‘to do’ list, just go with the flow. It was fun! Friends helped me to achieve my aim; even posting books to friends abroad who they thought would enjoy the read. And I heard from so many people who somehow came across my book, from Canada, USA, India and New Zealand, all over the world. In fact we are meeting a lady over here in a couple of weeks who contacted me after reading Got It. How wonderful is that?
From this past year, I have experienced that this other way of achieving is more fun, and profound.
I’ve noticed that I succeed far more than I expect in a much more relaxed and enjoyable way. I trust that I am ok whatever the outcome. My mind is free from boundary thoughts, and this new space allows for clear thinking, letting my innate wisdom just flow out. Sounds a bit woo-woo perhaps, yet I’ve seen it work and it is so effortless.
I do like life to be simple. How about you?
A friend wrote on Facebook how her Mum and Dad would take her and her siblings out on the weekend and the kids would take it in turn to say which way to drive. Left, left, right, straight on… Their Dad would follow the order and they would have fun seeing what destination they would arrive at. How marvellous – no plan another example of go with the flow! Now we have borrowed our friends’ car in New Zealand, perhaps we will play this game – how about you? Do email me and let me know your adventures and how you experience going with the flow.
If you are interested in understanding more about how we experience life, then have a read of my book Got It: The Answer to a Confident, Productive & Stress-Free Life Now available from Amazon in paperback and in ebook.
Lindsey Reed is an experienced International Confidence Coach, Trainer and Author. She enables people to have a joyful, fulfilled life and be their best selves…re-igniting their lives with confidence. Lindsey coaches around the world via the internet and if you would like to work with her, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that she can arrange an online chat with you.