This is part of The Recession is Bullhonkey series, where I share stories of those who have gotten hired and/or started their own businesses (or sometimes both!) since 2008. This is Leigh‘s Story, and you’ll soon see why you can call yourself a Planner without having a plan.
A Planner without a Plan
If you’re like me, you tend to feel safest with a plan. You can go into a new situation because you know what to expect. You don’t have to worry about the future because you have planned everything out, and life always goes according to plan, right? (Picture a skeptical eyebrow raise here.) Mmm-hm.
Recently, I left a job I had held as a developmental psychology lab manager for over 3 years. But I wasn’t leaving to move on to a dream career like I’d always planned.
I left because my husband and I were moving to a new city so he could attend nursing school.
I left with no plan for a new job. In fact, the only thing I had a plan for was the move itself.
And I noticed a strange thing: I was at peace. I wasn’t stressed about finding a new job. I wasn’t desperately trying to formulate a plan.
How did I get from Can’t-Live-Without-a-Plan to just living?
I began to trust myself.
I began to trust that I would be able to find a job doing something. And then I began to trust that I would be able to find a job doing something I liked. I’ll admit, I did brainstorm some ideas of jobs I would like (there is a good side to being a planner, after all).
It was hard to admit that when I made my plans from a place of fear, I wasn’t trusting myself. It was hard to realize that I didn’t believe I was trustworthy for myself. I made a point to follow through on promises I made to other people, but not promises I made to myself.
A lot of therapy and soul-searching later, I realized the thought that I was not trustworthy for me wasn’t true anymore. Even though I had let myself down so many times in the past, I could start rebuilding my trust in myself. In fact, I had already started. I began to listen to the whispers inside that felt True. Deep inside, I heard a voice saying, “It will be alright,” and I decided to finally believe it.
I gave myself little baby tests to prove to myself that the voice was trustworthy (really, that I was trustworthy). Even though I had decided to believe, I needed to rebuild the trust. But what I noticed was that even when the tests didn’t work out like I thought they would, I still preferred approaching them from a place of peace rather than frenzied planning. That was the proof I needed; I could trust my inner voice.
Can you find a voice inside of you that tells feels True? You might have to dig deep, past the media voices saying the economy sucks and there are no jobs, past the voices of family members telling you to be practical, past the voices of your past mistakes clamoring that you’ll just screw up again. Past all of the voices, inside and out, that are causing you to live a life that’s not as beautiful as you want it to be.
Maybe it’s saying something different to you. Maybe it’s saying something like: “You can do it.” “It’s okay to rest.” “Ask for the help you need.” “Keep trying.” “You are worthy.” What Truth do you hear deep inside?
I’m still working to figure out my dream career. I still love my To Do lists, and journaling, and dreaming about possible futures. But when I approach them with peace instead of worry, the outcome isn’t as important. I know that whatever happens, it will be alright. I’m even open to new ideas, like the possibility that there isn’t one perfect career for me, but that maybe I’ll have many awesome careers (can I get a woohoo! from my fellow Renaissance Souls?).
It’s a work in progress. I’m a work in progress. I still have worries and freak-out moments, but they are smaller now, and I move through them much more smoothly than I used to. The nice thing is the more I trust myself, the more I am able to trust myself; the trust just keeps growing. Even my mistakes aren’t the huge problems they used to be. I started a blog that’s been very start-and-stop-and-start-again, but rather than giving up entirely, I now pick up where I left off and try to keep moving forward. I don’t want to just quit anymore.
Two weeks after we moved to our new home, my inner voice proved true once again when I found a job as a nanny for an adorable 2-month-old baby. It’s not my dream job, but it’s enjoyable and I still have plenty of time and energy to explore and search for that dream job. I trust I’ll find it, though I have no idea right now what it will look like. And the best part? Rather than the unknown being scary, it’s finally exciting.
So now my plan is to keep moving forward, to keep digging deep, and to ask for help and support when I need it. Beyond that, I’m open to what comes.
What is your inner voice saying to you? How can you learn to trust yourself?
Leigh is an explorer and observer of life. She is working towards finding her Life’s Calling, and she’s starting to feel like she’s closing in on it. Join her over at her blog where she continues to figure it out. You can also find her on Twitter.