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Plan Less And Take Action

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve made a plan and the number of times I haven’t take any action.

You see I love making plans!

Spending days, weeks, even months thinking, planning and figuring things out and then not following through.

A chronic procrastinator, overthinker and perfectionist.

Sometimes just talking about my plans made me feel like I’d actually achieved them. It had happened in my mind so it felt like it was true, like it had actually happened.

And I used to spend a lot of time telling my old housemate about all my plans.

And then one day, fed up of listening to me talk about my plans he sent me this John Lennon quote:

Life’s what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

John Lennon

It did not go down well.

Because it took me a long time to accept this behaviour of mine. For me to accept that I was a dreamer with lots of plans.

A dreamer lost in the clouds of a future that didn’t exist, which I never created.

Because there’s a lot of excitement that comes up when you’re making plans. And where I got stuck was in enjoying the thought, but not taking any action to implement the thoughts.

I think I just loved the excitement of dreaming up the latest plan I was hatching because I got a real buzz out of it.

I’ve been planning the lifestyle I’m currently living for 12 years.

And I’ve been planning the business I’ve created for 5 years.

Just thinking about them got me excited. And every time I planned my life out in my head it was like I’d experienced it, so there was no need to move out of my comfort zone to move forward with my plan of what I wanted to create with my life.

And there’s been lots of reasons for the all the planning and no action.

Fear.

Doubt.

Insecurity.

Uncertainty.

To name just a few.

And the only person stopping me from moving ahead with my life was me.

I was comfortable in my life and acting on my plan would be challenging. It would be uncomfortable.

And I had all these negative thoughts and stories playing out in my mind telling me not to do it.

I was spending too much time thinking about how to do it. Rather than just doing it.

TAKING STEPS

And a few years ago I decided to stop planning so much. To be bold and take action when a great idea for a new plan came up.

So as I sat sitting on the balcony, my wife asked me if I wanted to move back to London and I immediately said yes. No hesitation.

And 2 months later – after living in Sydney for 7 years – we’d quit our jobs, shipped all our stuff across to the UK and we were on a plane back to London.

We had no jobs. No house to live in. We just made a decision and went with it. Instead of planning it for months and thinking about it, we just did it, trusting we would figure things out.

Less planning. More action.

FALLING BACK INTO THE TRAP OF PLANNING

But then we fell back into the trap of planning. We planned to settle in London for two years. Get our usual media jobs and make the most of being able to travel to Europe.

To spend time hanging out with friends and family.

But sadly the plan didn’t work out.

I couldn’t get my usual job and ended up earning minimum wage.

My wife worked so much she barely saw our friends and family.

And we had very little cash after all the living expenses were taken care of.

We’d made a really good plan that we were all excited about it. And then life went and fucked it all up.

Damn you life!

MAKING A PLAN AND THEN MAKING ANOTHER PLAN

So after 7 months in London we gave up on that plan and moved again.

We got jobs back in Sydney and back we went.

With no money in the bank we planned again. To stay in our media jobs and save some cash for  couple of years before leaving and doing something different.

But after 6 months we decided to rip up that plan. And make the move a year early. New plan.

And in less than 6 months. We had quit our jobs in Sydney. Again. Sold our flat. And bought a new flat 12 hours drive away to start a new life.

THE TRAP OF PLANNING

We’re chronic planners. And when you have a plan for how you want your life to go. Sometimes life decides that the plan you have laid out is not the one for you.

And it’s a difficult thing to manage. Because I feel it’s important to have  a vision for your life.

To have a North Star; your vision. That’s guiding the plan and the choices you make.

But you also want to be here now. To be in the time and space you’re in. To flow with life.

LIFE PRESENTS THE PATH

And as we play and experiment with our lives. Slowly but surely we’re starting to find that balance.

Of having a plan but knowing that we might just need or want to rip it up.

Because sometimes life takes you in directions you didn’t see coming.

New ideas arise.

New opportunities.

So what I’ve learnt is to have a vision for your life. But to be prepared to be flexible. And adapt.

To not plan too far ahead. For us it’s no more than 6 -12 months. Because you have no idea what’s round the corner. And how what’s happening in your life can change the plans you make.

Don’t waste time waiting for everything to be perfect.

Don’t plan too far ahead because life can quickly change everything.

Don’t overthink things. Don’t sit around concocting the perfect plan.

Just do it.