I spend considerable time plotting, planning and scheming about having my best self yet. In doing so, I have to come to terms with a universe of situations that are clearly out of my control. Being the control freak that I am, I don't like that I can't have everything the way I want it to be 100% of the time. There! I said it! Thankfully, I usually remember the Serenity Prayer and get over those little tantrums pretty quickly.
One of those situations presented itself to me a few decades ago when I came to realize that I was, apparently, not intended to be anyone's mother. To say that I was disappointed would be putting it mildly. Ultimately, I had to let go of the picture I had held for so long of how things would be in my life.
And when I eventually let go of how I thought things "should" be, a job description that I was likely more suited for emerged and that was the role of aunt! I knew from day one that I really loved this job. A first niece, Jamie, immediately followed by a first nephew, Jimmy, kicked the whole thing off. They were perfectly wonderful babies and tots, and I just loved being with them and playing with them. Fast forward a few years, I found myself with 10 young nieces and nephews, hoping for a dozen more.
My job description as aunt meant that I got to have tons of fun with the kids with virtually none of the parenting responsibility. What a great gig!! Throughout all of the dance recitals, baseball and basketball games, orchestra and theatre performances, graduations, mini adventures and many mis-adventures, I have thoroughly loved being an aunt. It is now my great pleasure to see each one of my nieces and nephews lead their own life and boldly become who they are meant to be.
Looking back, I am quite positive that there was and is no better job for me than being an Aunt. I have truly enjoyed every minute of my best gig yet! As my mom, the original family planner and control freak, always says, "It turned out better than if you had planned it."
I am still a huge fan of planning. Each year we put our "best year yet" plan together and break it down into bite sized monthly and weekly plans. We coach our clients to do the same. A plan is our best shot at clarifying and specifying what needs to happen to make a year, month or week productive. It gives us focus and helps us know how to appropriate resources.
That said, in all the planning I have been a part of, I have yet to see a plan be perfectly realized. Situations and circumstances can change in a heartbeat and plans need to be adapted to the new reality. And this is where planners have a critical choice. They can rigidly hold fast to the "original plan" like it came to them written on stone tablets. Or, they can doubt themselves, going down the path of "shoulda, coulda, woulda." Or, they can adapt their plan, priorities, actions and resources to a new, or clearer, reality.
Plans are meant to be revisited frequently and challenged against new and emerging information; to guide us, not restrict us. And you never can tell…things just may turn out better than how you plan them. We see it happening that way for ourselves and those we coach often enough. We are always planning something. Whether it is our day, our week, our year or our decade. Be clear about your plan and then be open to things working out even better than planned.