Life goes in cycles. No matter how much you’d love to be able to build yourself a steady routine, there will always be ups, downs, and things that get in the way. You can forecast all you like, but nothing is guaranteed.
Any CEO or soldier will tell you that there’s no plan that remains fixed in place once reality hits.
I was asked this week to make a commitment to a fixed number of hours a week. That’s not a problem, in itself. The biggest issue is that it would mean dropping something else, since I’m already fully committed, but if it had been something important enough I would’ve worked it. (If you’re curious, it was for a coaching program that wanted to sign me up) I know from past experience, though, that once I start something – especially if it’s something important to my dreams – there will be obstacles that come up. There will be times when outside circumstances get in the way. There’s also only so much you can do to counteract that.
As an example, I could’ve shorted myself on sleep for the 3 weeks I was pulling 16 hr days for work, while the boss was away. In fact, many nights and weekends I did, just so I could get the minimum done for all my commitments online. In the end, though, there’s a point where you have to acknowledge that you’re doing nobody any favours letting yourself get to a place that just doesn’t allow you to do your best work. In someone else’s immortal words, “something’s gotta give”.
I’m at that place now. I’ve overcommitted myself time-wise and now I’m having to find ways to drop a few things – and fighting the impulse to run off to the nearest cave and forget about it all. This is the point in time when it’s critical to schedule in time for myself. If I don’t get that R&R, I know other things won’t get done properly, if at all. It’s part of how my energy cycles. Maybe if I was 100% raw vegan I’d have perfect high energy levels all the time, but right now I’m not, and I don’t, so I have to work out how to live with that.
There are no guarantees in life, so why are we expected to be able to buck that trend and give them? My answer ended up being that there would be times I couldn’t put those hours in, but there’d be other times I’d be able to make it up. Life works that way for most of us, I figure. So long as there was a bit of flexibility in the program, no problem. If there wasn’t, then it wasn’t a program that would survive my real life long enough for me to benefit.
I know I could’ve taken the simple route and said “yeah, sure.” then come up with excuses along the way. No doubt there’s plenty of people they already have signed up who’ll be doing that. Personally, though, I’d rather deal with someone from a place of honesty. (Besides, I hate excuses. Especially when I have to give them.)
I’ve learned that it’s important to give yourself the leeway to let the hard times come, and remember the bigger the dream you’re chasing, the bigger the challenges you’ll have to overcome to grow enough to seize the prize. Don’t ever forget, though, that one of the obstacles you WILL have to face is the simple fact that life doesn’t go in a straight line. Allow for it, build in enough flexibility, and you’ll have put yourself on a track that’s much less likely to derail you.