When I feel intuition about something I haven’t expected, my mind’s first response is to explain why this gut feeling is wrong. My ego-driven brain likes to think it’s in charge, but my gut-level intuition often has the last word.
It was after 1 a.m. before Lucy and I walked tonight, so the neighborhood was quiet. I had been listening to an audiobook and I started that, but a noisy voice in my heart told me to shut off the audio and listen to the voice instead.
I have a firm work plan in place for the foreseeable future. My company just signed an agreement Friday that’s going to make it possible for us to renovate our office and prepare for substantial growth. I’ll have my real estate broker’s license by November and I’ll have a much larger role in building the future of the company after that. It’s a great financial opportunity for me.
But in the silence of my walk tonight, that little voice in my gut said, “Hold on. Something you don’t expect is about to change.”
I found myself thinking about something Dwight Eisenhower said which seems paradoxical at first. He said he was quoting something he had heard from a soldier years before in the Army, but he often repeated, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”
What does that mean? Does it mean that my plans for my future are worthless? Or is my planning so important that it means everything? What kind of contradictory crazy talk is that?
Eisenhower was commander of Allied forces in Europe during World War II. He was at the center of all of the major war plans carried out by the Allies, including the D-Day invasion at Normandy. What he learned was that once a battle started, nothing would go according to plan — but that without the planning that had gone into preparing for battle, he and his staff couldn’t react to what was going on to adapt to battle conditions.
It’s been important for me to make my plans for the coming year, but maybe it’s even more important to be willing to change my plans if I need to.
After my intuition showed up tonight to whisper about unforeseen change, that voice became stubbornly silent. My intuition is like that. It whispers a little something and then expects me to wait for the rest.
So what unexpected changes could be big enough and important enough for me to be willing to ditch my plans? It seems as though it would have to either be a much better business opportunity or else something involving love.
If someone unexpectedly offered me a better opportunity — more money and more growth potential, for instance — I’d have to listen. Right?
And anyone who knows me knows that I would have an open mind about almost any change — even if it meant changing my plans — if it got me closer to the love that’s missing from my life.
Unfortunately, I have no way of foreseeing anything that fits either of those. But something in my gut tells me to be prepared.
There was a silly but fun old television show in the 1980s called “The A-Team.” It was a combination of action, drama and elements of comedy. The characters were a bit like thin comic-book characters. The stories were fun and silly, not the least bit realistic. It was about four ex-military men who were wanted by the government for a crime they didn’t commit, so they survived by doing difficult jobs for people in need.
Col. Hannibal Smith was the leader of the group. He would always start with a plan but the plan would always quickly fall apart. Through cunning, ingenuity and pure fantasy, the team would improvise and do something amazing — usually involving blowing up a lot of things — to win the day. At the end, Smith often smiled and said happily, “I love it when a plan comes together.”
It was a joke, of course, because nothing about the plan had worked right. But he was still smiling and taking credit for everything having worked out because of his original plan. Everybody laughed, but everybody was happy.
At the end of my life — when I’m successful and I’m looking back on a long journey — I’m going to attribute my success to planning or being adaptable or whatever else sounds good at the moment. When I look at it in a rear-view mirror, the path will probably make a lot of sense, even though it’s often a mystery today.
I’ll be like Hannibal Smith. I’ll be happy that my plan has finally come together, even though nothing that happens will look like what I envision right now. And that’s OK.
If nothing changes between now and fall, I’ll move forward with my business plan. If nothing changes after that, I’ll see where that opportunity takes me.
But if something unforeseen presents itself — something that can get me something I value even more than what my current plan will give me — I have to be ready to rip up the old plan and write a new one.
I’m not a psychic. My rational mind doesn’t have any predictions. Maybe my gut is right that something unforeseen in coming soon. Maybe not.
Either way, it’s good to have a plan — and it’s even better to be ready to tear up the plan and start over if I need to.