Monday, January 10, 2011

Dancing with Reality

I was encouraged to share this recent article I wrote in the newsletter for Envision Coaching Solutions, LLC.  With all of the hectic activity around the move this week, it seems like great timing for it.
Sometimes I have been frustrated when plans go awry, especially when I have spent a great deal of time and energy formulating how things can ideally play out. Unexpected elements can emerge and change things suddenly and radically. There are times when it is tempting to delay action until all the unknown factors come to light. But even though chances for success may be greater with increased information, you might never have all of the information pertinent to a decision.

I wrote a few issues back about "paralysis by analysis". Now I am experiencing the other side of that conundrum, dancing with reality. Without knowing what the future would hold (and without expecting to be able to have such knowledge!), I created a plan for the next several months, and now I am faced with making some pretty big changes to that plan. The reasons for those changes is on the whole very positive: My wife is taking a job doing something at which she excels in a field she absolutely loves. There is some payoff for me in that as well. But it still means making changes to some pretty exciting plans.

Rather than see the situation as a loss, though, I am able to see how I can still be creatively engaging my passions for one simple reason. I knew from the start that there was more than one way to get the outcome I most want in my life. Had I believed that the first possibility I determined was the only way, this would be a very frustrating time indeed. Some people call that single-mindedness attachment to a particular result.

Attachment is not your friend. Determination is valuable to a point, and commitment and resolve and all of those admirable qualities that keep us focused on a goal. But danger arises when we focus on that goal to the exclusion of all other possibilities or when we ignore reality. Every plan of action is really just a proposal, a hypothesis to be tested. You test it by taking action, with full commitment and resolve and determination toward your goal. Then you get feedback, from other people, from circumstances, from your own gut.

The key is to take that feedback and adjust your plan accordingly. You can still focus on the same goal, but you may have to take a different route than you were expecting. It may even be a better route than you had considered. If you are unwilling to alter your plan, you are essentially saying that you know everything that you could possibly need to know to get where you want to go. No one can honestly say that. That is at the very heart of attachment. You must be willing to be wrong in order to create anything of value. That doesn't mean that you will be wrong, but a person who is willing to consider the possibility that he doesn't have every possible piece of useful information will be much more receptive to feedback than someone who can't bear to be wrong.

So, determine your goal, make your plan, take full throttle action on your plan, and then pay attention to what happens next. Whatever feedback you receive is incredibly valuable, and what you do with it is the key to having a plan that will truly carry you where you want to go.

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