In terms of organizational development consulting, I specialize in helping transform disorganizations into beautiful organizations – can you relate? Here’s my secret: since I’m the only person I get to influence something like totally, everything works better when I start by working on myself.
To this end, I invited my partner to spend the last month re-organizing our teaching enterprise, PlanetDharma along with my own AkasaVision Consulting. With help from a good friend providing a healthy objective perspective, we created two one-page business plans, and corresponding action plans and calendars.
I feel embarrassed to publicly confess that it was the first time I’d planned my own activities a year out. And I’m a great believer in emptying skeletons from closets, because they do a much better service adding calcium to the soil for healthier future growth. Maybe this will inspire you to compost some of your skeletons. After all, when we fully own our weaknesses, it’s much easier to transform them into strengths. And it makes us more accepting of others’ weaknesses too – who are we kidding? We’ve all got them!
At first, looking at a year’s worth of goals and implementations felt so satisfying. Everything was out of our heads, onto our hard drives, implementation plans were reality checked with one another and timelines applied. It’s all so tidy, and the structures make it feel like attaining our goals is going to be just a matter of following the plan. I got an anticipatory dopamine rush from imagining checking off all the tasks I was scheduled to complete.
Then there was a physical response mechanism akin to hyperventilation, as it dawned on me: my work schedule’s committed for a year? Yikes! Something about less plans can provide an illusion of more freedom.
Years of breathing meditation practices enabled me to remember to breathe and with a few rises and falls of the abdomen, it all felt ok again. A breathing practice is a discipline, one acquired over many many hours of focused practice. It’s kind of like a plan, applied to the body and breathing (it’s a simple and deceptively challenging plan: when a negative state arises, remember to breathe).
I wondered what life would be like without those breathing practices (it would involve less oxygen to be sure). This year I get to find out what my business equivalent of breathing practices – action plans, calendars, deadlines – feels like.
Have you found a personal balance between planning and flexibility or freedom? How do you know when the balance is off, and what brings you back to center?