Don’t make career plans – here’s why

I thought something would happen the last week of March, but what was supposed to happen didn’t.

See, I was supposed to figure out who the man of my dreams was this past week. Stop laughing. This is serious business. Last year, I felt overwhelmingly that this would happen in March or April, and as time went on, I began to believe that it would happen in the last week of March.

I told a couple people about this craziness – my mother, Belle, Hercules. They all humored me while explaining in a good-natured way that I shouldn’t count on it.

You can’t plan for things like this, they said. You can’t plan for love.

Fine, I told them. But I went ahead and had drinks with every eligible bachelor I knew. Just in case. Then I waited for fireworks.


Okay, so you can’t plan love. And you can’t plan for your career any better.

When you stick to a plan, you miss out on opportunities. Besides, you’re only in control of yourself. You may have goals, but unless you’re ruthless with yourself and who you are – your abilities, your strengths, your weaknesses – you’re not going to get anywhere.

For instance, I had drinks with Johannes last week. He’s been planning one particular career path for a number of years now and found out recently that he didn’t get the job he really wanted. He got another great job, but it wasn’t the one he had put on the map he carried around and relied upon. Understandably, he was pretty despondent.

This was probably you when you realized that you would never use your degree. Or when you found out you couldn’t have children. Or when you started your dream job, the one that paid you large sums of money, and you looked outside your corner office with a view and realized you’d rather be a musician.

That’s the thing about life. It doesn’t really care about your plans. So you can chart all the courses you want, but it’s much better to just be prepared and flexible for the opportunities that come your way.

Like Sunday, when I shot a gun. Um, yeah.

If you know me at all, you know how ridiculous this is. And my mother is probably having a heart attack right now. But mom, it’s okay. I was very safe.

I’ve never believed that people should own guns. In England, they don’t allow people to own guns, and there’s virtually no gun-related crime. Seems easy enough to me. So I’ve always thought that owning a gun was downright stupid. Or I did. Until my friend drove us to a shooting ground, taught me the rules of gun safety, and I pulled the trigger. I actually even hit the target several times.

Do you know how exhilarating it is to try new things? To take risks and do something you never thought you would?

That’s why it’s so necessary not to hold onto your plans, opinions, and beliefs with such strictness that you can’t change and adapt, and with such fear that you don’t live your life.

You know, I was never going to be the person I am today. I was going to be the next William McDonough. I was going to be the next Samuel Mockbee. And well, I’ve always wanted to be Oprah. And maybe someday I will be. But I’m pretty glad life got in the way of my plans.

In summary, to rock your life and your career:

1) Focus on the now.
2) Like plans, love change.
3) Take risks.
4) Repeat.

In the meantime, I’m accepting that maybe I’m just not ready for a relationship. Or maybe the person that I like isn’t ready. Or maybe we’re not meant to be together. Whatever. The point is, I’m done worrying about it. And I’m ready for today.

Love it like you mean it.