“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need.” — The Rolling Stones.
Plans are lovely. Goals are wonderful. Everyone should have lots of plans and goals, and work diligently towards them. Honestly, that diligence alone–win, lose or draw on the outcomes–sculpts your character.
But the older I get, the more I think that it’s usually the changes that you not only weren’t planning for, but were actively trying to avoid, that end up having the most profoundly positive impact on your life.
Let’s just say that my professional life has taken an unplanned turn lately. And while it was unplanned (at least on my part), it wasn’t entirely unexpected.
When someone asked me “Did you know this was going to happen?” I could honestly answer “Nope.”
When they asked, immediately after that “So, it was a total shock?” I just as quickly and honestly responded “That would be overstating things considerably.”
Which means I knew this change was a possibility at some point. Right up until it happened, I was hoping it wouldn’t.
Then a funny thing happened. All the really awful things I was afraid would accompany this particular change, didn’t happen.
Which actually was a total shock.
The bigger shock? All the good things that have already happened instead.
It shouldn’t have been such a surprise, because almost every positive turning point in my life was change that I resisted. Even the painful ones weren’t remotely as painful as I’d feared, and the beautiful, unexpected benefits were so much more than I could’ve imagined.
I’ve made different choices at different times for different reasons. Sometimes, what I need from my work life is to be stretched, to be challenged, and to shine (or publicly faceplant). Sometimes, what’s best is for me to be the person working behind the scenes, supporting someone else’s vision, and having the free mental hard drive space to direct more of my energy to personal stuff. Like most everybody, I sometimes get so comfortable in one phase that I don’t recognize that what I need has changed.
What I want isn’t always what I need.
So to my friends who have asked me quietly, privately and with concern if I’m alright, the answer is a resounding YES. I’m so much better than alright. I had mentally put myself in a box. Now it’s like the top is not just off the box, the whole box is blown to smithereens and the view is amazing.