The current presidential election has put millions of Americans in a panic. I get it. No matter who you’re voting for, there’s a lot of troubling news.
And that’s just the election. Throw economic and international instability into the mix, and sometimes it can feel like we’re being swept along in a powerful current, headed to a destination we aren’t sure we want to go to.
Carried by the Waves
I see it in social media, when I travel, even among my friends and neighbors. There’s a groundswell of uncertainty rising about the future of our nation. Fear is taking hold.
But just because our national future is uncertain doesn’t mean our individual futures need to feel the same. We may not get the leader we want, but we can always choose to lead ourselves with wisdom and purpose.
Imagine being swept away by that current of fear and suddenly realizing you have a rudder. There may be rocks and sandbars, but now you can steer your way through.
What is that rudder? It’s the Life Planning process my friend Daniel Harkavy and I detail in our new book, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want.
We wrote Living Forward a few years after the Great Recession and after decades of overcoming personal and professional challenges. The lessons we learned through those years apply to our present situation.
Steering Past the Rocks
There are at least five ways a Life Plan enables us to find certainty and control in the midst of all the chaos and confusion of life.
- Clarity. The Life Planning process helps us clarify our priorities. How do family, work, health, personal finances, even politics integrate?
Most of us can’t answer that question because we haven’t prioritized these different areas. Consequently, we’re living in a fog of competing demands with little direction about which comes first. A Life Plan clears the fog.
Balance. When we’re in a panic, we go into full-on reaction mode. We focus on what’s urgent, not always what’s vital and beneficial. Sometimes we can’t even tell the difference.
But with clear priorities, a Life Plan helps us give appropriate attention to each area of our lives. Some more, some less. But all the amount they need to move the desired direction.
Confidence. In reaction mode, we often lack the self-assurance necessary to seize the right opportunities and let the rest go by.
When we’re anxious or afraid, we try to find comfort in the form of external commitments. We treat every opportunity like it will solve all our problems. Soon we take on too many and create a crisis for ourselves.
But thanks to balanced priorities, a Life Plan gives us internal confidence to commit to only the opportunities that will take us in the right direction.
Hope. Keeping our eyes on tomorrow is critical if we want to make the most of today. But that’s impossible when we’re in constant crisis mode. We’re trapped in the moment.
The Life Planning process enables us to envision a future worth working toward. We will still face rocks and waves, of course. But now they’re transformed from problems in themselves to mere obstacles en route to our destination.
Instead of dread, we can now cultivate real hope that we’re getting someplace that truly matters.
No regrets. Every person I’ve ever met who has no vision for the future gets stuck in the past. With no way forward, we start looking back. Soon it’s a chorus of coulda, shoulda, woulda. Life becomes a long story of regrets.
But not if you’re making meaningful progress on a journey of significance. A Life Plan swaps our diaries of disappointment for a map to what matters most.
Fear robs us of more than clarity, confidence, and hope. Fear even robs us of our identity. God didn’t make us powerless. He invested our lives with agency and expects us to use it.
We can’t control everything, but we’re able—even accountable—to take control of what we can. And the Life Planning process will show you it’s far more than you probably think.
The future is always uncertain. But that’s a sliding scale, right? We can’t have total certainty. But we can have some, even plenty, because a Life Plan enables us to:
- reduce the variables;
- be proactive in the moment;
- chart the course we want; and
- move with intention.
In other words, a Life Plan reminds you that the deciding vote in your life is yours, not your circumstances. You can lean into the future with a sense of purpose, empowerment, and direction.
It doesn’t matter what’s happening at the polls, on Wall Street, or anywhere else. If you’re ready to to take the rudder, Living Forward can show you how to steer toward better waters.
Question: What would your day-to-day look like with more clarity and certainty?