Planning & Personal Power

Woman looking at a sunset

I really dislike planning. Perhaps a little more than your average person. There’s so much about life that is emergent and unpredictable that I feel planning can be futile at times. And me and Futile don’t see eye to eye on most things. Though recently I’ve noticed the link between a plan and personal power.

Plans fall apart and become useless when applied to life situations that ARE emergent and ambiguous in nature – like waiting for someone to have a baby. There are some things that are just outside of our control and trying to force a plan around these things causes more stress. Plans are useful when you choose to have direct influence over the outcomes and are personally required to make things happen.

Learning to tell the difference between what can and can’t be planned saves a lot of heart ache and necessarily builds your ambiguity muscle. This muscle helps you sit with ambiguity without losing your mind. Kind of like the antigravity muscles in your back whose job is to just keep you upright and still.

I have learnt to embrace the aspects of my life and my job that are ambiguous and emergent in nature. To give them the space they need to exist and the space I need to sense make.

I have also learnt that there are aspects of my life that cry out for planning. And when I don’t plan, I feel disempowered and stressed out. In these cases, planning is powerful.

When you plan your actions and then do them, you can feel your personal power build. It provides you with the evidence that you CAN make things happen, that you CAN shape your own reality.

What I’ve also learnt is that when I don’t plan, I end up fulfilling other people’s priorities and not my own. I have no way of knowing whether my action is more important or urgent than somebody else’s request.

Planning what ought to be planned gives you a sense of agency over your life, a sense that you are not a victim of circumstance and by applying your own will, you can manifest what you choose.