I'm not what you'd call a here and now person. I'm what you'd call a here-and-now-and-six- months-from-now-and-two-years-from-those-six-months person...who pretends to be all here-and-now. I live in the moment I'm in - the whole presence is a present deal - but I plan for the moments way far down the road, chronically.
This isn't entirely problematic. It's good to plan. It's good to see the forest through the trees. It's even good to have a vision of what you want five years out.
When it becomes a problem is when we get to decisions of which the five-year-out impact cannot be determined. Every action has a reaction - that I can pretty much decipher. It's the unknown domino of the reactions to those reactions that drive me insane. I'd prefer a selective chrystal ball - one that answers the questions I want answered and goes cloudy over the stuff I'd rather just ignore.
And so I - like so many of us in this phase of our lives slash all phases of lives - take the safe road. I make no move. That or I make a move that is movement but in a direction that doesn't necessarily connect to the large moves I need to make. Like, I need to be walking (or in some cases running), but instead I just start dancing (essentially in place) because that feels like I'm doing something and is also very fun. This needs to stop.
In my marketing/media job we do these status sheets around the projects we're managing. They're excel charts with columns for the elements and party responsible and due date. And then, at the very far right there's a section called next steps intended to identify the next thing the needs to be done on a given program element.
When I first started filling out these status sheets the next steps column was the bain of my existence - much like a not-at-all-funny joke to me. We're talking a 8.5x11" piece of paper here. How I was going to fit the next steps around the element of "live concert event" inside said 1x1" box was a major issue, and this is coming from a girl who fits 65+ shoes (boots included) inside a 8x10' bedroom, without a closet. The whole idea of how to say everything that needed to be done miles down the road from the day produced the kind of stress only comparable to having to go through the subway turnstile with all my luggage (on account of that one time the handle of my DVF rolling duffel, gold with bronze detailing, got stuck on the steel claw of the turnstile and I was stuck there like a foolish tourist, at rush hour. Kell nightmare).
Apparently I was over-thinking it (again slash still...). My next steps box was only intended to be filled by one line - one specific move. If the element was "live concert event" the box could be filled with 30 lines of details on what needed to be done, but the point of the next steps heading was to identify the immediate next steps so "schedule status call around live concert event" or "create list of live concert event location options" - one, immediate move. Imagine that.
I'm not big on New Year's resolutions because I tend to break them sometime around Feb. 1, but I'm going to try this idea of focusing on immediate next steps as my 2010 philosophy - a journey-of-a-thousand-miles and baby-steps-into-the-elevator and slow-and-steady-wins-the-race year philosophy. Instead of getting caught up in the five steps that follow the first I'll focus on the first and the calm the hell down. Instead of thinking five years out I stick to six-months-to-a-year. And instead of dancing in place instead of crossing scary starting lines, I'll makes some solid moves forward...but maybe still soul train style.