I have been discussing the book Living Forward, A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and get the Life you Want. The authors Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy begin the book by introducing the villain: The Drift. They give their own personal examples of how The Drift led them into this whole life planning thing. I will leave you to read the book to discover these stories. Essentially, The Drift comes in two basic forms:
- Not paying attention or being aware. Going with the flow; letting all the forces around you determine your path and even destination, rather than you taking responsibility and DECIDING.
- Heading in the wrong direction. For whatever reason you have a destination in mind but have never really thought and DECIDED, for yourself, “am I headed for what I am put on this earth to be and do?”
I have a confession, I don’t have a big problem with the first form of drift. I have always had a sense of purpose and direction. This was instilled in me by my father, “You can do anything you put your mind to” he would say. I believed him. You see I am always on a mission, but finding the right mission for the right reason with the right people took one major derailment as I turned 20: an unwanted broken marriage. That was my crisis and it was devastating. I say with great gratitude, but for the grace of God I might have not only derailed, but crashed and burned.
Let’s talk about these two forms of drift. As I am a retired air traffic controller and current private pilot, I would like to use aviation, specifically a trip by commercial plane, as an illustration. In fact, let’s go behind the scenes of said trip to see how this applies. When a pilot begins to plan a flight, they first find out where they are to go and look up the code for that destination. They check weather, including the route and altitude they want in light of the most favorable winds as well as the capabilities of the particular plane they will be flying. They then file a flight plan with air traffic control and request the route and altitude they want to take. Air traffic control then approves or amends the requested route and altitude in relation to all the others who are headed that same direction. When the pilot requests clearance they may get a “cleared as filed” or “I have an amended clearance, are you ready to copy?”. Occasionally, even the requested destination may not be available due to weather or other factors. Sounds like living life, right?
Would you ever hop on a flight that you had paid good money for, to a destination called “we have no idea”? No planning for fuel, weather, aircraft safety or other life critical factors? So why would do we do this for the life we are living? The fact is, it is at best a waste and perhaps even irresponsible, and at worst just plain dangerous for you and those you are connected to on this earth. The other fact is, few if any, don’t plan intentionally, it just never occurs to us. Most simply don’t know any better. Perhaps is it due to the fact that our parents launched us on this journey (without any input from us I might add) and if not taught otherwise, we just keep going. In any case we all are going somewhere, but is it the somewhere that you want?
– Back to the aviation analogy. Although rare, there are occasions in planning a flight that the pilot might intend to go to one destination but get the wrong code. Air traffic control will clear the flight to the filed requested destination even though it is not the destination the pilot thought he was going. I am sure you have heard of those occasions where a flight lands at the wrong airport. How did it happen? Not paying attention.
– Then there are the external forces on a flight. Wind will, unless the pilot and air traffic are aware, simply push the flight off course. Severe weather may require taking a longer route or even require waiting to depart. Mechanical issues with the aircraft or the air traffic system may cause a delay. These all represent life events, that without a clear plan could prevent one from reaching the desired destination.
The Drift Anti-Dote
So how does this relate to a life plan? In the case of finding oneself headed in the wrong direction, or even arriving at the wrong destination, just like on a flight, there is a solution: get a plan that will get you to the desired destination. Although a bit embarrassing and sometimes rather expensive, it is fixable. If you have breath, there is time – today. In the case of external forces. a life plan, like a flight plan, when given intentional thought and periodic review will keep you on course. Even if there are some re-routes or delays along the way.
– first, ensure you are headed where you want to go and,
– second, that all those forces out there conspiring to distract you from YOUR journey are not allowed to do so.
What is the first step you can take today in making a life plan?