I don’t do plans. My lists are only reminders of what is next to be done, not what needs to be done by a certain time. No, I don’t do plans; I unfold. That goes against every planning concept I’ve ever explored. And I’m still learning to trust it.
Listen to the signals
The only elements of my no-plan plan are to be open, receptive and authentic. That means you have to listen – to your urges, your insights, your nudges.
The no-plan plan has allowed me to get out of my head and into my heart. I have no marketing plan. I don’t even have an editorial plan. I just stay open, examine what shows up and do something with it – or not.
Consider what shows up
New opportunities cross your path several times a day. It’s up to you to be aware that it’s an opportunity. Consider it to see if it’s something you want to do and then take action – either act on it or don’t.
I often get motivated by a phrase that resonates. It can be from a novel, a post, a TED talk, a conversation or an email. I resonate strongly to the phrase and immediately go exploring. I often write something to help me figure out what I think that concept means and how I might apply it to my life. Sometimes what I write is worth sharing. Sometimes it’s not. But it always helps me examine the opportunity and make a choice about how to shape it.
Choose what resonates
You will acquire a rather large collection of possible opportunities. When you are aware of your degree of passion and your intended direction, you can begin to choose the opportunities and ideas that are aligned with the direction you have chosen to go.
Look at making a choice as a form of exploring. Take the idea a bit deeper, see what form it could take, decide if it furthers your intentions and either do it or don’t.
I write whenever anything calls to me, but I review, edit and chose about once a week. Some of the pieces were simply me sorting out me. Others have meaning for others. And some were relevant at the time but simply no longer interest me enough to want to share them. Make your choices based on what you need and feel at this moment in your life
Shape what shows up
This is the lovely part. A tempting idea floats in. You look it over, try it on for size, keep the parts that match where you’re going and let the rest move on.
I allow their shape to emerge. Some posts really, really want to also have a podcast version with more stories and a different format. Others move from a post to a section of an ebook. I listen, I feel. I shape them into a new platform.
Shape is such a gentle word. A little nudge, a release of pressure and a new shape emerge. Shaping is a gentle process that has powerful results.
Evaluate according to you calling
One thing you do need in a no-plan plan is an understanding of the message only you can deliver. That becomes the measuring stick by which you choose the ideas to complete.
The more deeply a topic resonates with me, the more I’m compelled to share it. Not everyone wants to think philosophically about their life, but those who do will be drawn to what I share. I choose my most relevant topics based on how strongly I feel about them. I focus on the topics and concepts that are moving my own life along, that are the most relevant at this moment in time.
Once it has a shape, tweak it. Check out other platforms it could be used in. Get some distance on what you have created and return to review it with a beginner’s mind.
I do tweaking well. Fine-tuning is not my thing. I am fortunate to have two people with proofing and editing skills to help me with that stage. I work with the flow, the sequence, the effectiveness of the process. They help me prepare it to be shared.
Is this your authentic voice?
Remember I said the primary elements of the no-plan plan were to be open and receptive and authentic? I check over whatever I have created, whatever I’m ready to share to see that it expresses my authentic voice. Is this what I believe? Is this what I want to share with others? Am a sharing a piece of my soul?
If you don’t put the ball in play, nothing happens. You have to deliver. You have to put it out there. Someone is going to see it. Someone, somewhere, is going to be affected by it. You just don’t know how many there will be and from where they’ll emerge.
Notice what shows up next
You’ve shipped something. You’ve learned something in the process. You’re a different person than you were even earlier today. What is showing up right now, in this moment, that wants your consideration, that wants your nudge, that wants you to simply shape it and deliver it?
One step at a time. One moment at a time. That’s the no-plan plan.
To Sing a Deeper Song consider: