Feb 12

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The plan is, there is no plan

Last night I fell asleep listening to a recording of an extraordinary conversation between personal development supremos Michael Neill and George Pransky. As my eyelids drooped, I remember hearing George relating that he never really had a life plan. It turns out he chose to study psychology only because someone had dropped the tuition fees to fill spaces on the course.

Michael Neill points out that on closer inspection, most of the best things that happened to each of us last year weren’t ever goals. And here’s some interesting reading from a collection business coaches on how goal setting can actually have a negative impact. I’m always heartened by hearing this from people I respect. While plans are sometimes useful, rigid goals have often been a weapon with which I’ve beaten myself up!

While I was mulling all of this over in the back of my brain, I had a fascinating conversation with Pat, my training colleague. As well as being an IT trainer, he’s an award winning director who’s on first name terms with some highly respected household names from the movie industry.

It felt like I’d just discovered my accountant also dances with the Royal Ballet. I interrogated him for details, and Pat told me how he created his first feature film.

On a shoestring budget, he pulled together a bunch of actors, and – with no plot line (let alone a script) – had them develop characters and interact organically. They shot one or two scenes each day, partially influenced by the naturally developing narrative and improvised lines, and partially influenced by which actors happened to be available on each day.

Listening to Pat made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. He had the energy I notice in people who have connected with a great creative source and are noticing wonderful opportunities. He let go of the reins and trusted that it would all work out.

The film won several awards, and the most valued accolade – from one of the actors – was heard during a film festival Q&A: “It never felt like it was Pat’s film”.

And in some ways it wasn’t Pat’s film. In some ways it belonged to everyone who was involved in its making. In other ways it belonged to the universe, god (if you are religious – I’m not), some greater power or higher intelligence. Pat simply open himself up to it, without expectation (and without a plan).

The most exciting things for me is recognising that power is in all of us, and we can make space to let it in.

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