We can plot the course of our lives but can only steer them day to day
I am excited. I just finished taking the Designing Your Life class and I read the bestselling book based on the class. I recommend them both.
I feel energized and optimistic. I feel empowered with yet more tools to assist me in creating the life I want. At 66 years of age, I am trying to determine what the next version of my life will look like and the class and book were good mechanisms to assist me in those personal investigations.
Being someone who gravitates most readily to books as my ideal first learning source, I suggest reading the Designing Your Life book and if you then feel the need for some more in-depth work, sign up for the class of prerecorded video modules and at-home workshop activities.
One of the great things about the Designing Your Life process is that it is presented as but one methodology to use to help identify and act on self-discoveries that move your life ahead in positive ways. It thankfully does not pretend that you will arrive at a solid two-year or five-year or whatever length of time plan that will unfold perfectly and linearly. No life does that. None.
I am a lifelong, rabid consumer of self-help content — books, workshops, articles, and so on. If there is one thing I have learned as I have made my way through all that material is there is no “one way” to plan a life and deliver on that plan. Life just does not work that way.
You can plan your life and create action items with meticulous specificity and detail and I can assure you that life will toss in some unexpected twists and turns and your entire plan will have to be adjusted. In some cases, your plan may need to be scrapped altogether prompting the creation of a new plan.
As I worked through the Designing Your Life material, I kept realizing that it was the ongoing, day-to-day navigation of life that was the skill set they were trying to instill in readers and workshop attendees. Examine yourself. Truly examine yourself. Examine your wants, needs and skill sets. Then create a plan realizing that once underway you are going to zig and zag toward your goals, or your goals will adjust, or your goals will change entirely. That is life. That is just how it goes.
As I worked through the class and book the word “steer” kept popping into my head. So, I went to my favorite dictionary site, onelook.com (great site for everyone to bookmark), and looked up the word.
The Oxford dictionary defines steer as to guide or control the movement of something, to follow a course in a specific direction, and to guide the movement or course of something.
Think of how you steer a car.
You want to get somewhere and off you go. You take the usual road, but traffic has it blocked. You take an alternate route that takes a bit longer. Along the way on that road you notice a brick and mortar bookstore and pull in because you really like bookstores, and they are becoming rare. You stroll the aisles scanning the titles. Suddenly a book jumps out at you. You pick it up, look at the table of contents, read a few pages, and realize this book is already speaking to you in profound ways.
You buy the book. You sit in your car a while longer reading a few more pages and you are hooked. The book is so good. The place you were driving seemed important when you started out, but you really did not need to run that errand after all and decide to go back home instead to keep reading. Before the night is over you have read the entire book and it has begun to change your entire worldview. It has begun to take you in a new direction.
That place you were going in the car originally did not seem as important once presented with new information. Your priorities shifted. Perhaps your entire approach to life and its accompanying dreams, aspirations and goals have changed.
None of this should bum you out. It should empower you. I contend most of us are or can be a lot better at intentionally (that is the key) steering our lives day to day rather than embarking on a years-long master plan. If you are the kind of person who can create a master plan of that length and firmly stick to it and it works for you, great. I believe you are a rare creature.
Most of us mortals are certainly better off engaging in some serious introspection and life planning but doing so with too much rigidity can end up a sabotaging move.
Build in lots of flexibility into your plans and you will be far more likely to steer them in the right direction based on who you are at the time and the information currently in your possession.