Over the past few weeks I’ve been on sabbatical — the perfect time to do some great thinking about the direction I want for my life, to actually do all of the courses I’ve downloaded over the past year, and of course, to follow through on all the beloved online entrepreneur Christmas traditions of vision boarding, reverse engineering my ideal business year, and doing a planathon or two to get ahead of the jump.
But I have a confession to make.
Over the past three weeks, I have done not one vision board.
I participated in exactly zero planathons.
I did no courses, workshops, or webinar replays.
I didn’t even choose a guiding word for 2016.
I went into the holidays with the best of intentions for having a great, productive sabbatical away. I was going to start 2016 off right, dammit! This was going to be the year when I somehow managed to combine zen-master levels of serenity with wildly productive learning and planning that would put a military strategist to shame.
Here’s what happened instead.
I read books that I really enjoyed.
I watched the Miss Marple box set with the live-in lover.
I played around with paints for the first time in years (and it wasn’t even in service of creative cross training.)
I ate a lot of chocolate and waffles and drank a lot of beer.
When in Belgium...
I broke every Christmas tradition the online entrepreneur community’s got. And 2016 came anyway.
Of course, I absolutely angsted over this. Where was the motivation? Why was I not having my super-productive sabbatical?
And then I realized … the reason I wanted to do all of that stuff wasn’t ultimately because I wanted the knowledge from the courses or the results of good planning or the fun of vision boarding. It was because I felt somehow that if I did all this stuff, I could somehow take the fear of the unknown out of 2016. It was almost like if I could lay down this deposit of preparation and good deeds against the future, then I could know that things were going to be ok.
I had forgotten one crucial thing: life happens anyway.
Let me be clear: I’m definitely not saying that doing any of those things is bad. There is no particular virtue in flying blind, and vision boarding and all that can be loads of fun and very very useful.
But (and maybe it’s just me) when all of those things get attached to fear, when we start counting off the end of year rituals of the online entrepreneur like rosary beads, protection against the unknown in the year to come, there's a bigger issue at play.
The truth is, life is going to happen how it happens, no matter how many vision boards you do, no matter how perfectly you reverse engineer your 90 day plan. And the great thing about working the way we do is that you get the flexibility to deal with it as and when.
So if you've been feeling a little stressed about the year, or maybe you didn't quite get to all the stuff you wanted to do to prep for 2016, just remember, you're working the way you work for a reason, and I'm guessing that it's not so you can spend your holidays listening to webinar replays.
No matter what you do, life's going to happen anyway. And that's a beautiful thing.
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