By nature, I’m a planner. It became obvious during my elementary school years when I plotted what to wear and created lists of books I’d be reading that year (and in what order). In high school, I always knew what I’d be wearing a week or more in advance and my college schedule was so well planned that I finished my Bachelors in 3 ½ years. I love to have a plan. And I love to create a plan.
Leaving school hasn’t stopped the planner in me. Give me a complicated trip and I’ll help you create a schedule. You should see how we managed a month in Europe in 2013: seven hotels and travel by planes, trains and ships all scheduled like clockwork.
And, baby, spreadsheets make me one happy girl.
It’s probably not a surprise that I had the outline of my business plan back in August. But, darling, we need not just business plans, but life plans. If you want to live a life that you love, it’s hard to do without first envisioning what you really desire. And while I’m the first to admit that dreams are lovely, you have to create a plan and take action to make it a part of your reality.
What might surprise you, though, is when I tell you that nothing in life is certain. You can create a beautiful and realistic vision for something, layout a plan that seems to be flawless, and then begin taking decisive actions towards that vision. Then, you realize that no matter how beautiful the vision and flawless the plan, the reality isn’t what you thought it would be.
When I moved my office a few years ago, I was reminded of how valuable it is to create a plan but understanding it might not work out as you hoped.
I began with a vision. After three years of working in an upstairs room that faced the street, I wanted to move to a windowless room downstairs. I was seeking fewer distractions, a greater sense of peace, and more space. For a few weeks, I worked on a card table to see if the vibe of the room was what I desired. Once I had affirmed that I didn’t miss the big window, I made a solid plan of what I wanted in regards to desk, lighting, and art. I set a deadline of when I wanted to be finished.
The desk arrived and I was thrilled. The bookshelves I’d brought from Texas became transformed into sacred space. Rather than purchase art, I had photos I had taken during our travels framed. And I may have purchased and returned half dozen lamps, before eventually finding one I loved.
The piece de resistance for wall real estate around my desk was going to go to beautiful and functional organizational stuff from Pottery Barn: file sorters, cork boards, pin boards, and shelves. I lovingly unpacked it when it arrived and couldn’t wait for the weekend to arrive so that JB could help me hang it.
As it sat in my office waiting to take up residence on my wall, doubt began to creep in.
The pieces were really heavy. Installation would require anchors into studs. I looked at my pristine butter walls. I had no problem with nail holes, but anchors seemed very permanent. What if I wanted to move my desk to another corner?
The beautiful plan of how my walls would serve to support me so that I could create felt like being stifled. JB helped me hang the art I still loved. But I told him I just couldn’t hang the other stuff. I’ll be honest: I may have shed a few tears over it.
You see, I had been certain about how I wanted my office to look.
Not only would it be beautiful, my office would also be organized and functional. I knew for a fact that it would look professional, yet feminine. And I was certain that the pin boards and corkboards would allow me to easily change what I saw each day with ease.
Nothing in life is certain. We can create a vision and it will serve us. We can create a plan and it will help us reach our goals. But, baby, there are going to be bumps along the way. When our vision becomes reality, we might realize the vision was too narrow or just doesn’t feel the way we imagined.
Just because it doesn’t always work out like we think it will, that doesn’t mean that visions and plans aren’t valuable.
- Without a vision, there’s no starting point.
- If you don’t create a plan, you’ll never discover what works and what doesn’t.
- Without deadlines, you will procrastinate.
So what do you when you create a plan but it doesn’t work out? You pivot.
When having some of my photos framed, I wandered around the store looking for lighter weight corkboards. Yet, I wanted it to match my desk. The ever helpful sales person in the framing department made a suggestion: make my own corkboard. A beautiful lightweight frame, a roll of cork, and some backing turned out to be the perfect addition.
Today, I am still loving those butter walls. They are gently lit by the warm glow of a just the right lamp. And hanging over the desk is that beautiful corkboard – that only needed a couple of nails. It’s the perfect inspiration for me each and every day.
You see, if I hadn’t created a vision and a plan, I’d be wandering the house with my laptop trying to find a good spot to work. It was especially nice when JB started working from home more often during lockdown times. And now, I get to enjoy a sacred space of love and support.
Don’t let the idea that plans don’t always work stop you from creating a plan for yourself.
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