When Everything Starts to go Well…and then it Stresses You Out

The last few days have been amazing for me. I’ve relaxed and enjoyed myself. I went to a café for some coffee and brought my computer in case I was inspired to write. When I reached the (typically empty) café, it was full of writers and interesting talk. Obviously, squishing my Chai and me into a chair between two other writers was plenty enough to inspire me to write. It felt wonderful.

I’ve felt successful on other fronts as well. I go to a Meetup called Space Entrepreneurs, where once a month we drink beer and talk about space. While the rain and wind lashed outside, I had some illuminating conversations. To be honest, I got excited about working at a particular aerospace company. However, I still want to focus on my analytical writing because it makes me feel so wonderful. So I spent a good part of the evening trying to reconcile the two. How could I do both? I came up with a plan and went to sleep with a smile on my face.

And I woke up feeling terrible.

What was my one rule? To pursue what I want to do. In all honestly, that is what it started out as. I found two neat things that I wanted to do and I meshed them and came up with a plan. However, I have some compulsions when it comes to planning. Once I have a plan in place, I’m stubborn. Stubborn isn’t a strong enough word; I’m bull-headed. If I think that I have a good plan, it’s almost impossible for me to change course.

That was one of the things I learned at my previous job. I was so determined to prove that my previous job was my dream job, that it took me over a year to realize that I didn’t actually like my position.

I don’t want to do that again.

So, I had a great idea. It was fun and seemed right. But as soon I started thinking about it as a plan, my brain went into lock-down mode. “This is now the plan. No deviations are allowed.” That thought immediately took all the fun out of it. Instead of writing about something I was curious about, my topics were determined by which fitted the plan better. Instead of being excited about my future prospects, I started enumerating (a ridiculous amount of) tasks that I would need to accomplish.

That’s not fair. How can being so excited have such a negative impact?

I guess that I need to approach plans differently. My entire life has been spent creating plans set in stone. That is why I’ve been trying to move away from planning at all, so I can be flexible and follow my desires. (But I also love planning; it’s like visualizing a perfect future). In the end, I think that I’m going to end up somewhere in the middle. I’m always going to plan a bit because it excites me. But I want to remember that the enjoyment is in the journey. I want to enjoy what I’m doing now and learn to accept that deviations are how the plan is improved. New paths can lead to even more success than I ever planned for. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe.

Hopefully my brain will agree with this idea someday soon!

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One Response to When Everything Starts to go Well…and then it Stresses You Out

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