Adulting: On planning and on winging it

Growing up, I thought there would be a point in time when I would become a "proper adult". The moment when somebody would hand me a manual and things would make sense and I would know what to do without all that nagging insecurity.  

That moment doesn't exist (sorry).

The truth is, to a certain extent, we are all winging it. We have our life experience of course, there are legal fence posts, cultural norms, professional standards etc that provide a bit of guidance. And that internalized parental voice in your head that is still telling you to wear a scarf. And no shortage of people with a "told you so" after the fact.

A lot of us (in stable democracies, in reasonably developed countries) live in an amount of freedom that is quite unprecedented compared to previous generations. Depending on where we live, we were never as free as we are now. We have choices where and how to live, what to learn and from whom, where, how and in what field to work, whom to marry (or not), to change careers, start that business, have opinions and share them safely, fail and get back up again with another chance to do it all over again.

But more choice also means less manuals, less scripted pathways how all of this can come together (and in which order). That can be scary. You can't have more choice and more safety at the same time. We need to build our own path. That is a responsibility you have for yourself and your life, and this is the big beautiful chance to really make this life into something that is more and more an expression of who you are, and who you are becoming. Think iterative, like a spiral where we revisit areas at progressively higher levels. Rather than a more or less straight line from A to Z. 

Where and how to start? Start right where you are. Get to know yourself in different situations.  What are you passionate about? What are your core values? Where do you spend time and money on? What makes you angry when it doesn't get space or when it gets violated? Where do you experience flow state? Strengths? Weaknesses? What are you curious about? What sorts of people or environments do you enjoy hanging out with? How do you want to have more of these positive things in your life? There is lots of planning in making that happen, and you need that to get things started and to keep track and to keep space for something new to unfold. 

And then there is the part where you are winging it a bit, where you are throwing yourself in the way of synchronicity by showing up and by being clear who you are and what you want next. Go to that event or talk. Speak to the person sitting next to you. Take a chance and have that coffee with that connection. See what comes out of it. Allow some space in your life for new things, people, thoughts and opportunities to bubble up. And then make their acquaintance and see what it is that wants to happen next. 

(Don't overdo it on the growing up bit though)

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Written by Christine Locher FRSA

• London-based cosmopolitan
• Experience in high-pressure business environments and in international leadership roles (top 5 consulting)
• High "BS-o-meter" paired with deep compassion
• Book author (winter 2017) “the Decisive Edge – how exceptional leaders act on their Values, Intuition and Integrity to make better Decisions and increase Impact”… Read more

Written by Christine Locher FRSA

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