“Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision. Visions don’t change, they are only refined. Plans rarely stay the same, and are scrapped or adjusted as needed. Be stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan.” John C. Maxwell
Having a clear vision of what we want in our life is important – it helps guide our choices and inspires our future. But, for most of us, when the path we are on changes and doesn’t go as we envisioned, we automatically interpret that as a failed vision. It becomes a deep source of unhappiness or confusion for us and we begin to wonder at the purpose of it all. To view life’s twists and turns in this way, however, becomes self-limiting and defeating – we are too quick to let go of our vision or mistake it for being the plan. We allow our inner critic to judge, blame and regret instead of recognizing that the vision can still be held faithfully. Indeed, as John Maxwell points out, we can be stubborn about what it is that we want, but need to be more flexible about the way we will get there. If we are to receive the gifts of our life, we have to recognize that perhaps the path we are now on (rather than the one we planned on) holds more joy, wonder and promise than our original plan. After all, by holding onto our original plan, we remain stuck in a place that clearly isn’t working for us and won’t get us to where we really want to go. Maybe we want to experience love, a family, or a certain career, but if it doesn’t go the way we planned – perhaps we were left by our partner or lost our job – we have a choice. We can either stay stuck in our displeasure and suffering or we can instead stubbornly hold onto our vision and simply find a new way to get there.
Weekly Path to Peace: Hold the vision, ditch the plan.
- Take an honest assessment and ask yourself how often have you interpreted failed plans for a failed vision? Have you given up on what you wanted - assuming that because you didn’t get where you wanted the way you wanted, your dreams are no longer possible? Spend time journaling about the ways you have misinterpreted failed plans as a failed vision? Look at all the different areas of your life – health, relationships, work, family, personal development and fun.
- Reconnect with your vision, whether you write it out or create a vision board. Allow yourself to really dream. You might even consider posting a reminder within the vision that you vow to hold onto your vision strongly, but be more flexible with your plans