I am a planner. I have a long-term, detailed plan for all aspects of my life; work, travel, health, finances. What has secretly driven me to become such an excellent planner is my naturally anxious state. My plans give me ease and assurances when my nervousness is heightened. I review them, re-write them and imagine them coming into reality almost on a daily basis.
As a young child, I had a pink teddy bear that I adored. He was my comforter and who I turned to in times when I felt uncertain. I would cling to Teddy each night as I lay in my bed. I would tell Teddy my future plans each night before I fell asleep.
Why Do I Plan?
I grew up in a household that was controlled by a very strict mother. The uncertainty of her moods made me and everyone else in household live on edge. One of her particular characteristics was her habit to change her mind on just about everything at the last minute. Premade plans were pretty much always cancelled. I am still not sure what all of that was about for her, but I know it had a profound effect on me growing up and still does as an adult. The sense of unreliability of anything turning out as orchestrated has turned me into the obsessive planner that I am today.
Obsessive Planning vs COVID-19
So, here is the question. What does an obsessive planner do in a COVID-19 pandemic environment where all previous plans deserve a toss into the garbage and there is no reliable foundation upon which to write new ones?
We have all been thrown into what is known as a “limit situation”. By definition, a limit situation is any situation in which a human being is said to have differing experiences from those arising from ordinary situations. Limit situations unsettle us, remove us from our social bonds and force us to find new ways of existing with ourselves and others. They also trigger anxiety from the knowledge that the old way of being cannot survive.
Letting Go of Long-Term Planning
So, the work that I have engaged myself in lately is discovering how to let go of my love for long-term planning and at the same time, keep my anxiety down during COVID-19. I’ve come to realize that I need to now think in terms of short-term projects and give up on long-term planning. I need to shift my focus to projects that are quick to come to fruition and that can stimulate a sense of momentum. I need to change my activities to anything that I can complete in a month, a week or even a day.
So, instead of spending time planning a trip to see my family in Australia because I truly don’t know when international travel will open up again, I am taking small steps each day to reach out to them on social media, to send over a package every once in a while and even to write handwritten notes that can be mailed overseas. Before the pandemic, sending a social media post seemed rather inconsequential. Today, it is small step that makes me feel less anxious about my connection with my loved ones so far away.
Trust Your Instincts and Think Smaller
We are in a perfect time to engage in small, micro activities. We can choose to trust our instincts. The larger purpose of what we will focus on will be revealed to us in due time. The leap of faith is that even without a long-term plan, we are still on course and that all of our micro activities during the pandemic will add up in the end and everything will work itself out.
It is not a time for go big or go home, we are already home. It is a time for our focus to be on small, meaningful steps towards contributing the best we can to our family, our work and to the virus containment efforts and let these smaller activities melt our anxiousness away.
If you are interested in how my trademarked coaching program can move from fear to courage, request a complimentary consultation today. Alternatively, tune into my bi-weekly webinars by registering on my website and learn how you can reset your emotions easily and effortlessly even during this global pandemic.
To our Health and Wellbeing,