How to Build a Pen for a Baby Goat Brain
I'm a naturally chaotic person, with two basic modes: all the way on or all the way off. My brain was like a baby goat, running around at top speed and jumping all over the place. (It still is, if i’m being honest.) This made my early career…difficult. I’d get an assignment and hit the ground running, which seems like a great idea—until I hit a bump in the road, and then everything came to a grinding halt (the two modes, you see). And there was always a bump somewhere along the way, because that’s just how life goes. Sometimes I needed more information before I could take the next step; other times I needed direction, and sometimes I just needed to know what the process actually was.
Unsurprisingly, this was not a sustainable way to work—for me or anyone else—but i’m pretty sure I was the last one to get that memo. It took a lot of years and plenty of frustration to learn how to best harness my energy, and I was as surprised as anyone to discover I do my best work when there is structure and planning to support me. I had to build a pen for that baby goat.
At first, planning and structure were long and painful processes. I hated it. I fancied myself a freewheeling creative who shouldn’t be held back by rules. In retrospect, this is hilarious to me because I spent most of my career in pensions and government-related worlds, so how I thought I could get away from rules is beyond me. But I digress.
I don’t have a sure-fire method to share with you; I I’ve tried a million different systems and templates, agendas and books, the process constantly changing and evolving. I’ve used whiteboards, spreadsheets, custom planners, blank notebooks, sticky notes, and countless other supplies. The specifics really don’t matter, but the motivation does.
Eventually, I realized that taking the time up front to get my thoughts and projects planned out was actually less time and effort than getting started right away. I could find the gaps in my knowledge, build a direction, anticipate road blocks, and get prepared so that once I got moving, it was much easier to keep going. I built a pen and then let that baby goat run around in it to its heart’s content.
Constantly refining my planning systems made me a better strategic thinker, a better goal setter, and much easier to work with. By taking the time to plan up front, I left myself the room to be creative and have fun with my work, and started doing better work as a result.
Good planning has also left me more time and mental energy, so I can actually play more. As an entrepreneur, that’s been unbelievably helpful (and full disclosure, has also been a bit of a crutch for my fear, but we can talk about that another time).
So as the summer approaches, consider how doing some planning now can help you have more room for play. And as ever, I am here to help you build a plan; just get in touch.