The Human Freedom to Plot a Path to Somewhere Great

It has often struck me that one of the major ways we differ from other animals is our ability to see a longer term vision and plot a course to get there.  Unlike squirrels or dogs we do much more than react on-the-spot.  As artists, we can envision a finished painting, song, or book, and then it can unfold.  Like good chess players, we can anticipate, see opposition and plan accordingly. And when we set such goals and lay out plans, amazing things happen.  It has been the mysterious norm in my experience that if I begin with a good endpoint in mind, e.g., to be on the radio, finish a book or a marathon, or raise self-sufficient and contributing adults, all kinds of crazy things start to fall into place to help me achieve it. Things happen I could not even have imagined . . . but with a vision comes a new openness to possibilities.  The vision of the end is absolutely key, the planning is vital, and yet there’s that something else that happens when we listen to our deepest purpose.  It’s as if the world wants us to manifest that.

 Julia Cameron described this in The Artist’s Way: “the universe falls in with worthy plans and most especially with festive and expansive ones.  I have seldom conceived a delicious plan without being given the means to accomplish it.  Understand that the what must come before the how.  First, choose what you would do.  The how usually falls into place of itself.”

So, just decide on the “what,” the vision, the endpoint, right?  But here’s the kicker:  Humans find it mightily hard to exercise this incredible freedom to decide on and commit to an endpoint.  I have my suspicions why it’s so hard to fix on what Cameron describes as “worthy…festive and expansive…delicious” plans.  I think we’re afraid of change, afraid of selecting the “wrong” vision, or afraid we’ll go after what we really want only to find out that we can’t accomplish it.   So we don’t get our hopes up, resign ourselves to fate and hope good will come.  But what a waste!  Life, as we know it, comes around once.  Why not go for it???

A new year also only rolls around once, so I invite you to make 2010 a “10” in your life.  I am hosting two retreats at the beginning of January to offer people a chance to really pay attention to their own life and their dreams, and to set some worthy, exciting, important three to five year targets in place.  Then you’ll have a chance to plot that out, with targets for this year, and action steps down to what you’ll do in the next 2 weeks.  You’ll get incredible feedback and gain allies who can help you move forward.  I have offered five such retreats so far, and they have gotten rave reviews.  The Detroit retreat will be Thursday-Friday, January 7-8 at the Atheneum Hotel in Greektown; the early bird cost for the retreat is just under a thousand dollars.  The following Thursday-Saturday, January 14-16,  I’ll host a second retreat at the Avenue Inn on Saint Charles (the streetcar) Avenue in New Orleans.  This one will especially target leading in challenging times.  The early-bird cost for New Orleans is $1699.  Complete information is on the Retreat page on my website.

Think about a plan, maybe giving yourself this time with me and some great colleagues to help you step back, think big and

Lead with your best self,

Dan