“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”.
The late and great John Lennon said it best, but what’s interesting is that we’re constantly told that success only comes from having a plan.
Raising a family?
Have a plan. Get savings. Get a house. Get a well-paying career. Start building that college fund.
Growing your career?
Have a plan. Get trained. Get educated. Get a qualification. Take that internship. Write those damn CVs and cover letters.
Starting a business?
Oh, you’ve guessed it. You better have a plan in place, or you’re going nowhere.
Here’s the deal.
Despite what everyone else says, what if you did all these things, just without a plan?
It’s okay to have goals and a sense of direction, but what if, and hear me out, you took your foot off the gas and the plan was flexible?
This is how I’ve lived, and it’s turning out well.
Allow me to explain.
I’ve always been politically minded and against the status quo.
John Lennon’s on my mind today.
But he does have a few fair points, doesn’t he?
I’ve never been a fan of the status quo.
Take my time in the voiceover industry.
I’ve been standing at the mic for over 30 years now, and I’ve seen countless trends, styles, and approaches come and go during that time. People with plans and ambitions that they want to bring to life.
But so many have faded away, given up, or moved on to something else.
Why are the people so ambitious and driven to succeed just letting go?
I took some time to think about this, and I can’t move past the one barrier that comes up time and time again, and that’s having a plan.
Now, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some kind of plan when I started out in the voiceover industry.
I planned to be the best voiceover artist in the world. I wanted to thrive in every genre possible, and I wanted to be like water to the point that I would be able to evolve and change with the trends and markets effortlessly.
I’d never be out of work, and I’d always thrive.
Three decades on, I can safely say I’m doing it. That’s the life I’m living.
Upon reflection, this comes down to not having a plan.
The status quo of the modern world is to get yourself a plan in life and to stick with it, but I’ve found time and time again that this does not work.
Life is messy and unpredictable. It takes its course and surprises us at every turn.
Take a moment to think about just how many times that has happened in your own life. More than a few, I’m sure.
Here’s the issue.
When you have a strict and rigid plan in place, it can feel like every bump in the road causes a problem. This mindset leads to everything in life feeling like a problem, and you’re only going to hold yourself back.
By letting go of your plans but putting yourself on a path in life and just letting yourself figure out what you need to do when you need to do a road trip through your life fueled by passion and ambition, then you’ll make it.
I’ve seen it in my own life and the lives of so many others.
Bruce Lee once said;
“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup.”
A river doesn’t have a plan. It doesn’t know how it will cut through the forest or across the fields. It doesn’t know what obstacles stand in its way or what dams will hold it back. Yet, over time and with perseverance and its overall goal in mind, it always gets to where it wants to be.
In your own life, when you’re fueled by passion, you put yourself on a path, but you’re free to go with the flow of the universe, and this is far better than trying to walk yourself through a brick wall.
Far better just to walk around it, even if that wasn’t in the original plan.
When you can do this, that’s when life gets exciting.
Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness.
When life inevitably happens, and you’re thrown a curveball, do you feel like a failure?
So many of us do. We crush ourselves and beat ourselves up because we clearly weren’t capable enough to do what we set out to do.
I say don’t be so damn hard on yourself.
Embrace the disappointment, devise a new plan: and take a breather from planning.
I say again life is messy and complicated, and 99% of the things that happen in your life are outside your control.
The trick to success is to be able to go with the flow and still be able to get to where you want to be, regardless.
You won’t get every job you apply for. Not every person you’re interested in will like you back. Not every movie will be all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes you’re going to oversleep or fail a test.
Don’t let this perceived (but not real) failure hold you back. Instead, pick yourself up, and start dodging and diving. Let your passion for your dreams take you to where you want to go.
Keep doing this, and you’ll get there.
Not necessarily in the way you originally planned, or at the same time, but you will get there.
The only way you can ever indeed fail is if you give up completely.
And hey, I get it. Some of us love to be in control and feel lost without it. Well, why not add some spice to your control?
If you have to think strategy, think outside the box.
- Grab yourself a dartboard and post-it some ambitions onto it.
- Close your eyes, take aim, and let that dart fly!
- Wherever it points to is what you should do next – no matter what.
- Don’t think; just do – right now! There might be something unexpected where the target leads, a new realm of possibility for you and your goals.
My whole career, I’ve been guided by nothing but the opportunity to work in my beloved voice industry.
Of course, it’s important to note that I’ve been doing this for a long time, but this is just me speaking from the heart about what works for me.
If you need to plan something out, go for it.
But why waste time on mundane planning techniques when you could have a blast just living your life and doing it?
Dream. Have ambition.
Feed that ambition with nothing but curiosity, excitement, and fun.
Don’t put it into a rigid box.
So go forth and plan, but be bold and switch up your route when the universe throws something new your way!
You never know where it might take you. That’s the beauty of life.