I love having a plan.
I do waiver on following through on the actual execution of my plans, but having a plan makes my insides glow warm and fuzzy nonetheless. There is something comforting about knowing what to expect and having a general idea of what challenges and opportunities you are likely to encounter on a journey.
That said, I am flexible and can deviate from a plan when need be, but once I set my mind on a plan, I find deep peace in sticking as close to the original plan as possible.
Notice I said “peace“. Plans bring me peace.
When life lays waste to my carefully crafted plans, I may experience a complete absence of peace, but I do experience something else of true value: Personal Growth. Yes, transformational growth, which leads to greater joy (and ever so ironically, an abundance of peace), occurs not when I merely have to deviate from plans but when I’m forced into a complete pivot.
A pivot, by definition, is merely a turn or a rotation but a “pivotable moment” is altogether more difficult to define. And yet, our human nature somehow allows us to easily recognize them.
In college, I thought I would graduate and find an amazing job in corporate public relations and settle into a professional career debt free. But then 2008 happened and companies were not only not hiring new graduates but were actively laying off well qualified professionals. So I had to pivot and I did. I decided to go to law school. This of course, required a new plan that included student loans, a delayed entry into the workforce, and a physical move and relocation of my life just to name a few. But I grew and I found joy.
After my daughter was born, I found myself completely ambivalent towards my then-legal career at a prestigious law firm. The plan I had carefully formulated and followed brought me a law degree, a bar number, and the job of my dreams but once I acclimated to it all… Well, I realized that it wasn’t fulfilling me in the ways I had always imagined and I found myself burned out and unmotivated. In came the pivot and I left that prestigious law firm (much to the surprise and dismay of many of my mentors and peers) to join the legal team of a brand new company. It was terrifying but it forced me to grow and doors I’d had never imagined began opening for me.
When it was clear my marriage would end, I found myself in another dead-end with no choice but to pivot yet again. This time, the ask seemed higher though; I had to figure out what life could become instead of continuing to count on the life I had envisioned. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do but it grew me in ways that I am so goddamn thankful for and the journey has brought new joy, purpose, and love into my life.
I’d like to say that particular pivotal moment was my last major pivotal moment but, that would of course, be a big fucking lie because that’s not how life works.
Opportunities slipped through my grasp.
Oftentimes, absolute chaos ensues and it seems as if the entire world has gone mad (And let’s face it, it has in a lot of ways.)
Throughout the last two years, I’ve found myself constantly recalculating. I’ve scouted detours and new potential destinations. (And given the state of the world, I do not think for a moment that I’ve been alone in this endeavor.)
Very recently, another set of “best laid plans” went awry for me and I was devastated, but in that pivotable moment I realized something of crucial importance: Everything is okay.
Everything is okay not because I’ve already figured something else out — I haven’t. Sure, I’ve got pieces of a new plan formulating in my mind but right now, the entire path is far from illuminated.
Rather, everything is okay because I can recognize this pivotable moment for what it really is: An opportunity.
A chance to grow. A chance to adapt. A chance to encounter unexpected joys.
So while my best laid plans have once again gone awry, I am eager to see how I grow into this new challenge and I am already thankful for all the unexpected joy that this new pivot is going to bring into my life.
After all, pivots lead to growth…
Growth leads to joy…
And joy brings peace.