All the Things You Cannot Plan

This weekend, a dear friend who is expecting a baby was telling me about her planning woes. She is one of those people who KNOWS things, and even though I have a two year old, and she hasn’t had any children yet, she hands-down knows more about babies, labor, and child-rearing than I ever will. As she talked about her plans for the hospital, and the early weeks, I just kept thinking: Why didn’t I know any of this before I had Lucia?

Her story of uber-successful planning took a unique turn, though, when she shared that she and her husband had recently gone to visit potential pediatricians.

Like, now? I asked, confused. Like, before the birth?

Apparently, what she thought was perfect planning struck at least one potential pediatrician as decidedly humorous, and she and her husband were practically run out of the office with, “Why don’t you come back when you actually have a child?”

Planning is a tough one.

I think of myself as a planner (and most who know me would pay money to agree), but this month has turned that theory of self on its head, leaving me to ask if I’m really not at least a little bit more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants than I realize.

Case in point: I spent months and months working on the Work by Design Summit I’m currently hosting, bringing together close to fifty amazing speakers to talk about how they work and how they balance purpose, productivity, and profit in their lives.

And it’s been amazing. The 13,000 people watching are giving great feedback. The speakers are generally awe-worthy. My mother is texting me hourly with things she’s learning. But it’s also been crazy-town. I’m working harder than I have in ages. I’m dealing with more balls in the air than I’ve dealt with in years. There are more unplanned things happening around me than I know how to shake a stick at.

And again and again I ask myself: Is this me? Is this a lack of planning? Or is this doing something new?

I’ve learned a lot about planning, but I’ve also learned a lot about what you can’t plan for when you do something for the first time.

Because firsts are firsts and they will always and ever be that way. New. Newborn-ish, if you will.

Did you do something for the first time of late and it felt like you were a flailing newborn again when it came to life? I’d love to hear.

P.S. The Work by Design Summit still has a week left (now ending June 2) — and some of our very best speakers are yet to present. Sign up here to get your FREE pass and hear from folks like Don Miller, Adam Grant, Chandler Bolt, Jeff Goins, Dale Partridge, Pam Slim, and more.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “All the Things You Cannot Plan

  1. Claire, thank you so much for this amazing summit that you put together. I have learned a lot and it has encouraged me to move forward with my book idea and creating a blog. I too am a planner and there have been events in my life that I couldn’t plan for such as my oldest child having moderate-severe autism. Now I’m feeling like a newborn and trying to learn as quickly as I can about blogging and building a platform. Thank you for this amazing summit, I wish you success in all of your pursuits.

  2. Hi Claire,

    I recently started an Instagram acct. (I’m a tech newborn). In my first post I posted a picture off the internet and a favorite quote. The next day I questioned whether you’re supposed to post pictures from the Internet and after a few minutes of research realized that’s a no no. I took it off and thought, I’m not made for this. Then I thought of a handful of words of wisdom about risk and failure and taking chances etc. from your summit and have been posting (my own pictures) ever since. It sounds so insignificant as I write, but it signifies a shift in attitude for me and that’s thanks to you and your brilliant interview-ees!