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PLANNING: WHAT’S THE POINT?


Like everyone else running a small business this year, I’ve spent the majority of my time and energy trying to keep my business afloat and my head above water. Whatever emotional processing juice I’ve had left has been quickly consumed by my struggling kids, clients, employees, partners and friends.

But every so often, in a rare quiet moment, I’ve had a chance to remember all of the amazing things I had planned for this year and to sit in the real, raw pain of acknowledging all that was supposed to happen and didn’t.

How fast my business had been growing. How I’d finally grown my dream team of employees, gotten that amazing downtown office I’d always dreamed of, started booking big trainings and paid speaking gigs. I was always getting on a plane to the next awesome place, often to conferences full of friends, and enjoying spending time with people I’d spent years cultivating relationships with. I was even learning to dance.

The decades of heartache, the hard work, the literal sweat and tears, the years of poverty and fear, all of the sacrifice and fear I’d overcome…it was all finally culminating into the life I’d always dreamed of. I was hitting my stride, coming into my prime.

Sometimes we make plans and God laughs.

My objective in writing this is not to elicit your empathy. My business, kids, clients, employees, partners, friends and I are all hanging in there. We’ll all live to fight another day, and by this time next year, I’ll be right back on a plane to a beach, with all of this having been a bad memory. I know that millions of people around the world have had their lives permanently impacted by this pandemic, which will likely amount to little more than a year of inconvenience for me.

I do, however, want to acknowledge that for all of us, the pandemic (and its resulting shutdowns and lasting economic ripples) came as a sudden and traumatic shock. When we experience trauma, our natural response is to protect ourselves. Our subconscious minds plant mental seeds that say, “look what happened the last time you made a plan! Ha. It sure would-be stupid to try THAT again!” And, if left unchecked, those seeds grow into big, ugly, terrible weeds that steal all of the sunlight and oxygen from the flowers of our future.

I’m not going to let that happen, and I hope you won’t either. Instead, I’d like to consciously plant a better thought: plans make sense out of our brain soup. Plans give us something to be excited about, something to look forward to, and something to work towards. Plans are valuable whether they pan out or not.

So go ahead and draw yourself the biggest, grandest blueprint of a future vision that you can, and start taking steps to make it happen. Whether it does or not, you’ll have occupied your mind and learned a whole lot, and that feels a hell of a lot better than sitting around wishing things were different.

God must be up there busting a gut over 2020.

In these moments, my inner toddler cries out “IT’S NOT FAAAAIRRRR!” and I let her. And then I grab her up in my mind, hold her tight, and tell her she didn’t do anything wrong.

Planning is satisfying.

Planning gets you excited.

Michelle Coyle is the Founder and CEO of BGSD Strategies.