Getting settled here in England, spending time with my students, preparing for lectures & seminars, and getting out and about in Canterbury (and beyond) has taken up the vast majority of my time the past 7 weeks, but Dream Plan Do has never been out of my mind. The last time I blogged about this process (http://aliferedesigned.com/2014/01/dreaming-amid-life-and-its-surprises/), I briefly discussed my thoughts on the 20+ items on my list of things I would not miss in my life if they were to magically disappear tomorrow (my “Wouldn’t Miss” list). Now, I’m finally picking up from where I left of in that post. Before I do that, though, I want to mention that I’ve come to realize that that while the 3 steps — Dream, then Plan, then Do — are quite linear, there is quite a bit of recursiveness to this process, at least within each of the 3 major steps.
Even though I wanted to keep my backpack as light as possible as I traveled a bit through Europe last week, I tossed in my small spiral Dream Plan Do notebook. I’m glad I did, as I found that traveling solo gave me plenty of time to contemplate where I am and where I want to be in the future. Just after lunch on the first day of my trip, as the train I was on sped toward Amsterdam, I pulled out my ipad and read the next section of Dream Plan Do.
I don’t want to give away too much of the Talbot’s material, as that would be unfair both to them and to you (you really do owe it to yourself to purchase their book and read it in its entirety). I’ll just say that part of this step involves brainstorming strategies that at first might seem outlandish but through which, if implemented, I could “change, reduce or eliminate” each of the 20+ items on my “Wouldn’t Miss” list.
I tend to be pretty pragmatic, so not discarding the seemingly-outrageous but instead even welcoming them was a bit challenging at first. It was hard to abandon 50+ years of practical thinking, but eventually I came up with a pair of ideas that seemed totally undoable. For example, in response to the “Won’t Miss” item #3 — home maintenance (jobs/cost), I listed “barter”. I have no idea how I would go about bartering or what I would offer in exchange for home maintenance work, so that strategy qualified as off-the-wall (for me).
I closed the notebook and sat back to watch the countryside glide past my train window. About 30 minutes later, I opened the notebook and jotted down a few more out-of-the box ideas, and over the next few days I was able to add more. Before I knew it, I was enjoying coming up with other outrageous ideas.
Today, after watching the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympics, I pulled out my “Won’t Miss” list and its accompanying strategies. I’m not done with this step yet; I still have some blank spots (again, you’ll need to read Dream Plan Do to understand what I’m referring to here) to fill in, and that may take some time. But as I read over the strategies I’ve already written down, it occurred to me that a few of the ideas that seemed outlandish a week ago seem more doable today. Additionally, reading the out-of-the-box ideas with a fresh eye caused me to think of a few more-easily implementable strategies that I hadn’t thought of before.
And so the process continues . . .
If you are unsatisfied with your current situation and would like to make some changes, I hope you’ll purchase Dream Plan Do and work through the process with the Talbots as your guide. And then please share (via comments) your own experiences in redesigning your life.