As someone who lives her life with a lot of structure, being open and spontaneous doesn’t always come easy. I’ve mentioned my schedule, planning and my obsession for list making in several other posts (you can read the Why My Planner is Life post here) and I write about it in my book as well. I don’t think I could have made it through my single mom journey without some kind of structure and dedication to planning, but I also learned a tough lesson about being too hard on myself. I realized that sometimes even us type A folks need to relax and go with the flow just a little.
I also mentioned in my 20 Random Things About Single Mom Chic post that when I was in grad school I got really, really sick. One day I woke up and my face was so swollen it was disfigured. A barrage of testing led to inconclusive results, but my doctors thought I might have an autoimmune disorder called Sarcoidosis. They put me on steroids and most of the symptoms subsided, and even though I knew how much havoc steroids can wreck on your body I convinced them that I needed to stay on them until I graduated. Because being sick didn’t fit into my busy internship, real paying job, or single mom life schedule. Of course I realize how ludicrous that was now, but after my internship ended I graduated, my life returned to normal, and so did my face. I was symptom free. The doctors assured me that once I stopped the steroids the symptoms would return, but almost a decade later and no signs of Sarcoidosis. It was the stress of juggling a very busy schedule that literally smacked me in the face. What if I had been less type A and a little more go with the flow I wondered?
A few weeks ago I received a call from an old friend who had recently been promoted to a very fancy job. I commented that it was so interesting that the path to success for this person just kind of always fell into place. There was never a clear plan. They simply did each job well while becoming knowledgeable and educated in their current profession, which then led to another opportunity. That opportunity was handled the same way until finally they landed in a top position that seemed perfectly planned… only it wasn’t. They just stayed open to the next opportunity and the universe seemingly worked out the steps. We talked about this for a while and after our conversation I started thinking about paths to success and goal setting. Maybe planning and plotting your next steps isn’t the only way to be uber successful or meet your goals. Sometimes, you just have to be open to possibilities while doing what you are currently doing very well.
As I enter another stressful time in my life I have resolved to do things a little differently. When my father passed away in March I wasn’t ready. I hadn’t planned the soul crushing grief. I didn’t even give my goodbye speech the way that I thought I would and I realized that those kinds of things can’t always be planned either, so this year I am opening myself up to the possibilities that may come my way. It really will be my #YearOfAdventure. Now, don’t get me wrong I am still going to plan a little. It’s in my DNA, but I am going to make a concerted effort to allow some things to happen that might not fit into my plans.
Here are some things you can do to help yourself go with the flow and open yourself up to possibilities and adventure too!
Say “Yes” more-Last month I was presented with an opportunity to take a cruise to Alaska. That wasn’t at all in my plans for this summer. As a matter of fact it conflicted with plans I already had, but the new me decided to embrace this possibility. Alaska isn’t even on my bucket list (of course I have an actual list) and I thought my husband was crazy when he said it was on his a couple of years ago but, lo and behold we’re going and I couldn’t be more excited!
Put yourself out there just a little- Not to get political, but I think we can all agree that that the last six months have taught us that that anything is possible.
I’ve been approached with opportunities for larger speaking engagements that I have declined because I didn’t think I was ready. “That’s crazy talk” my friends chided. Is anyone ever truly ready? Sometimes you just need to take the leap.
When I applied to be an O, The Oprah Magazine Insider after seeing an advertisement in the magazine, I didn’t think I’d truly get the chance. Surely there were thousands of other people who wanted the same thing. Turns out I was right there were over a thousand applicants, but guess what? I was selected as one of the 50 out of the sea of applicants. Now I will admit that I didn’t apply and forget about it like many other Insiders have shared. Nope, my type A personality had me checking my email every day, two weeks before the deadline to hear back from the magazine. Hey, I am trying, but I am who I am…
Anyhow, I put myself out there and took the leap! Now I have a new journey as a brand ambassador to embark on this year too!
Live in the now-Just like my friend who didn’t plot or plan the climb to the top of his field, we should learn to live in the present. Do what you are doing right now to the best of your ability. Keeping your eye on the prize might prevent you from seeing other opportunities that unfold. This isn’t a dream dashing post. It’s great to have dreams and goals, I have several of course. I’m just suggesting we don’t hold onto one thing so tightly that we don’t have room to grasp even better opportunities that come our way.
I’d love to hear your take on being open to possibilities!
Until Next Post,
5 thoughts on “Three Things You Can Do to Open Yourself Up to Life’s Possibilities and Adventures”
Good advice! I, too, have been a single mother from when the children were 7 and 4. I always tried to embrace my favourite maxim, “Each day is a new life to a wise man [woman!].” We’ve done some difficult and, sometimes, zany things, but all 3 of us are doing well in our lives now and I am immensely proud that my children have followed their own way and, as I write, are travelling in Finland (son) and Croatia (daughter). I, meanwhile, have 2 fab jobs and am planning to buy a little run-down house in France. Only one life – yes, plan it. But, above all, live it! Sorry to hear about your father. He would have been so proud of you.
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Thank you so much Lorraine! Absolutely love your maxim and so happy to hear that you and your children are doing so well. I love that they are both traveling the world! Good luck with the house!
Thank you, Tonya. Looking forward to your next post!
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I absolutely believe that so many successful people achieved their success, not through careful preparation and plotting, but rather by taking a risk when an opportunity presented itself. In fact, it often seems people who take risks to find success are the ones most fulfilled. Does that make sense?
I have things I want to accomplish, and having plans will help me get there, however, I have learned to embrace whatever life brings your way. Some situations may be terrifying or painful, but ultimately help us grow. Life is definitely a journey and I love your message of taking that journey without always stickin to the plan. ✌❤
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Thank you Sammi! I couldn’t agree more. Life really is about taking risks and embracing the ups and downs of life. ❤