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Always Plan B

Posted Jun 22 2013 7:22am

Sometimes the original plan just doesn’t work out – but it’s not the end of the story

Even the best-laid plans can go awry, as happened with me yesterday. I had my day pretty well mapped out to get a lot of things done, then I ended up hijacked by someone’s 4-hour negativity “bender”, followed by a meltdown over getting dragged down into all sorts of dynamics that I cannot control and can’t seem to change.

I’ll spare you the details – in retrospect, it’s embarrassing that I lost it, and it’s embarrassing that I let that person get to me as much as they did. It was also a mistake to think that I could get anything done yesterday when they were around – they’re like a black hole that sucks in all the good energy around them, and it depresses the sh*t out of me.

Now I’m paying for it, because I’m still a bit “hung over” from the whole experience, and there is a chance that my whole weekend will be screwed if I don’t pull it together. I have some projects I need to make good progress on over the coming week, and it’s crunch-time. So, I have to stay clear and cool and plan wisely — and follow through well. I’m working on it. I’m really working on it.

I think I’m rebounding fairly well — I managed to end last night on a positive note, doing my 90-second clearing to deal with the biochemical sludge from the meltdown. It worked pretty well, too. When I become absolutely silent and quiet inside, and I let all the upheaval just settle like mud sinking to the bottom of the emotional “puddle”, I can actually get myself out of that meltdown head-space and everything chills and calms down. And I feel like myself again — because I am myself again, not just a bunch of biochemical reactions to the situation. I get myself back, when I settle — and that’s an important skill for me to practice and strengthen. Because these situations can come up at any time, and if I’m going to keep my head about me, and be myself instead of a reaction to someone or something outside of me.

So, yesterday didn’t go as planned — in just about any way that I had envisioned. The first part of the day went okay, but the second half was a wash. I was tired from working and also put-upon by this individual who felt the need to dump all their crap on me, and I let it get to me. Big-time. But then after I calmed down and just settled myself, the evening was okay. Except that then I ended up staying up till midnight and I got maybe six hours of sleep last night. That’s better than four or five, but it’s still not the seven or eight I was hoping and planning to get.

Oh, well. Time for Plan B. Do what I can while I can, and then take a nap later today. I have some work I need to do, this afternoon and evening, which is going to be pretty strenuous, and I need to keep an even keel. This is tough, because the thing is, I really don’t want to do this work. It’s eating into the limited time I have for myself, and it’s happening at the exact wrong time of the day for me — just at the time when I am at my most creative and productive. I need those four hours today to do my own thing, to work on my own project, but I’m stuck helping a friend with some event. And I’m getting pissed about it.

But as I was telling myself yesterday, getting pissed at someone else over what they are doing, is like drinking poison — and expecting someone else to die. Getting pissed is not going to make things better, and it’s not going to get me off the hook. It’s not going to relieve the pressure I’m feeling, and it’s not going to make the job any easier or make me any easier to live with, later today.

So, I have to have another way of looking at this – perhaps I can see it as an opportunity to get out of the house and get some exercise… I’ve been very sedentary lately, and I could use the exercise. So that’s one way to look at it.  It’s better than treating it like instance where this individual is — yet again — living beyond their means and coming up with ways to take advantage of me to live the dream. I have to find the parts of this that work in my favor, that benefit me, not just them. I need to do that for my own peace of mind. Because I can’t keep drinking that poison, expecting someone else to feel the burn.

So, Plan B — do what I can today, while I can, and then see what can be done later to make the most of the evening. I might just be looking for a change, ’round about 3 p.m. today — and frankly it won’t take more than a few hours, to get my part of the job done. Of course, I may be asked to help out later tonight, around 11 p.m. or so (I’m sort of expecting it), but if I can find a way to make the most of my time, this could work. I’ll figure out a way to make it work.

Sheesh — I’m feeling quite a bit of pressure. I’ve got a big deadline looming in less than two weeks, and I’m feeling quite on edge about it. I am also working like crazy, trying to wrap up a bunch of work items, so that I can leave in a few months with a clean plate and a clean slate. I have 11 weeks to go before I’m out of that place, and it’s feeling pretty good. I have about four weeks to go before I start sending out my resume to recruiters, looking for a contract to take me through the end of the year. And it’s all weighing on me a bit.

But when I think about why it’s weighing on me, I realize that a lot of the pressure is about my ego and my idea of what the ideal situation would be. There’s this “perfect condition” that’s taken up residence in my head that I think HAS to be. And if it isn’t, then everything will be “wrong”. I’ll be humiliated. I’ll be cut down. I’ll never have the bright, shining future that I long to have. Everything will be ruined.

At least, that’s the thing that is rattling ’round in my head. It’s all about Plan A, and only Plan A. Nothing else. Nothing more. It’s all-or-nothing, and it’s doing a number on me.

But that’s not true. Nothing is all-or-nothing. There are always gray areas that offer advantages and disadvantages, and my life consists of making choices for or against these different gray areas. When I am backed into a corner by circumstances beyond my control, I can usually figure a way out of the situation — and in fact, I have figured out some viable alternatives for some of my projects that give me some leeway and wiggle room.

For example, I have to prepare an online presentation that I need to upload for some folks. I was making myself sick with worry about not getting the presentation 100% ideally correct by the due-date, because there’s a lot riding on this, and the team I’m working with is depending on this presentation to be top-notch. The thing is, the project we’re working on has a lot of dependencies and variables and factors that are about as gray as gray can be. So, coming up with a presentation that’s 100% ideal may or may not be possible.  And depending on the audience’s reaction, some of the points we’re making may or may not get through to people.

I’ve been sweating this like crazy, thinking I had to get everything nailed down by the end of the day tomorrow (which is where this “helping” stuff throws a real wrench in my works). But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the presentation doesn’t have to be 100% by end of day tomorrow. It needs to be in great shape, around the middle/end of next week. And even after I finalize it by end of next week, I can always update it over the coming weeks,  and that will be fine. In fact, others who have done similar presentations for this audience have made frequent and major changes to their presentations, so when I update mine, it won’t be a surprise – not by a long shot.

In fact, it will be normal and expected.

So, in that respect, the pressure is very much off — sweet relief. The burden of this task is distributed across the next six weeks, not the next six hours — and that makes all the difference in the world. On top of that, if the next six weeks don’t get us the same feedback we’re looking for, there are other ways we can reach out to people and make things happen. This Big Plan A is only one part of the whole realm of possibilities. And in fact, Plan B (or C or D or whatever) might actually turn out to be a better approach, over the long term. Further, this project in particular is probably going to involve elements of all the different Plans, in different combinations, and that takes the pressure off as well.

So, it’s time to get out of my literal, rigid head… give myself a break… and allow for Plan B. Most of all, I need to remember that there are different viable scenarios that will be perfectly fine as alternatives, and I always have them to fall back on. If Plan A doesn’t work out, it really isn’t a big deal (other than for my ego). I do hope it does work, but there are plenty of other alternative paths to choose from. In fact, I could take the approach that there is no one single ideal plan — they all have their advantages and disadvantages — so whatever happens will be fine and good and will work out.

I just can’t get myself so tweaked over all of it and make myself nuts as a result. Just gotta go with it, and see where that all takes me — hang loose, and let things develop as they will. This is incredibly difficult for me, but it’s a skill I need to practice and acquire.

Anyway, speaking of plans for the day, I’ve got to get going and start making all this happen. Get organized, get all the pieces together that I need to move forward, pace myself, and do regular check-ins to make sure that I’m on track. I’ve been looking forward to and planning for this weekend for a long time — and next weekend, too. It’s all good, and it’s pretty exciting.


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