The perfect plan is fantastical, especially in creative work

woman floating underwater, surrendering perfect plan
Photo by Bruce Christianson on Unsplash

3 weeks ago, what started as a beautiful, even blissful day took a turn.  I went from feeling solid in my perfect plan, sure that things were looking up, to an emergency hospital visit for an unexpected knee injury. 

Just like all the calls I made afterwards for medical care and insurance… my big plans were placed on hold.  

Even my post-injury plan to recover in the soothing company of my semi-feral cat friend was unfulfilled.  He gave me a wide berth, afraid of my crutches, overwhelmed by the velcro sound of my new knee brace, and wary of the changes to our routine.

Held in a limbo of uncertainty about the injury’s severity and treatment needs, I couldn’t see what came beyond the hold and had to reorient my expectations. 

A perfect plan is a juicy promise of the road ahead.  

A perfect plan is delicious and grounding.  It makes you feel like all is right in the world.  It gives you permission to go about your business humming a jaunty tune.  It has enough room to provide guidance while also being adaptable to changing conditions.

You are gifted with clear steps to get to your destination and achieve your goals.  The perfect plan tells you exactly what step you’re on and what to do next.  Count me in!  Being saved from feeling lost and wallowing in the unstructured sea of creativity?  Yes please.

Yet the “perfect plan” is often fantastical, especially in creative work.

Here are some common issues with attaining that perfect plan:

  1. You have a GREAT plan, but something derails it.

When you’re too attached to your plan, it can feel shocking to have the ground fall out from under you.  

  1. Your plan involves factors outside of your control.

When your plan involves other people or certain external conditions (or cats!), things get fuzzy and unpredictable.  

  1. You spend too much time planning and neglect taking action.  

Perhaps your mind loves puzzles.  But you have a hard time distinguishing puzzles with no answers, and letting said puzzles go.  In the agony of trying so hard to make all the pieces fit, you forget to act on the plan.  You keep yourself too busy wondering if X comes before Y, and what order things should go.

  1. You struggle to follow your plan.

Maybe you’re a rebel archetype and like to innovate new ways of doing things.  Or your style is unconventional, making it hard to plan around.  Or you simply resent following a plan!

  1. You struggle to change your plan because you like it too much.

You know those edible treats that are too beautiful to eat?  You know you can’t save them forever but you can’t bring yourself to bite into them either.  You’ve fallen in love with the plan, or the idea of the destination, and you want it to stay perfect.

  1. Your true goals and desires are misaligned with your plan.

It’s easy to idealize a particular outcome, goal, or desire.  You think you want something and choose a path to get there… only to find that goal isn’t you.  You might have gotten overly attuned to someone else’s desires, energy, or story.  You witness their happiness, but when you try to cast that vision onto your own life, it doesn’t fit.

Do any of these match a situation you’re currently experiencing?

It’s humbling to be broken out of the illusion of control over reality that the perfect plan provides.

In the past few weeks, it’s been humbling for me to surrender to the flow of reality versus what I assumed and expected.  It’s been humbling to be in a state of immobility and needing help.  

Sometimes all there is left to do is surrender your plans to divine will.

Even if your perfect plan doesn’t seem to be working or yielding immediate results, there’s hope.

Sometimes fulfillment of your wishes takes longer than you’d expect, but it doesn’t mean all is lost.  It doesn’t mean you’ll never get to your desired destination.  Give it time.

3 weeks post-injury, my kitty friend has become accustomed to the crutches and brace.  He’s beside me as I write this (and has let me know he doesn’t enjoy me reading this post out loud as I edit, so if I don’t stop, he’ll have to leave in favor of a quieter spot).

You don’t need the perfect plan to succeed and find fulfillment. 

Remember to hold your plans lightly, continuing to check in with reality and your inner wisdom as you go.

Keep moving on inspiration and intuitive hits even if you don’t know where they’ll lead. 

There is so much more for you than you can ever plan for.  Trust–it’s a practice.