Things don't always go the way I plan. Shocker.

Yesterday was such a busy day (rode BART with Jim and the girls to San Francisco then a fabulous dinner with my Uncle and his Love) that I had scant windows for reflecting on my 2010 theme. It's interesting to note what arrives when you really don't have upfront mindshare to place on a decision.

A Thinking Schematic

I tend to power through my thinking. I make it happen – dedicate time and energy in ways that others have described as unusual and intense (I've heard many versions of “you have an extraordinary capacity for this type of thinking, Michelle”). I like the mental gymnastics of it – and often, major headway is made. Sometimes, though, this kind of thinking just confuses things. It's hard for me to admit because I dig it so much that I don't want to give it up. The good news is, I don't believe I have to give it up. Experience has shown me that there is a particular pattern which includes a variety of “thinking” approaches that works really well. Here's that pattern:

  1. Let the question arise.
  2. Schedule time to openly reflect on it. Don't create a more specific agenda yet.
  3. Meet with yourself during the scheduled time and ask yourself the question.
  4. Listen.
  5. Ask yourself more questions.
  6. Listen.
  7. Check your gut.
  8. Check your heart.
  9. Check your mind.
  10. Write the question and your answers/discoveries in a crystal clear description.
  11. Set actions (often including further research, scheduling meetings, exploring collaborations, determining needed resources.)

And wouldn't it be pretty if it just all occurred in that order, with time and space for proper attention and focus? For me, that's not the way it works – especially when I am on a “road trip” style vacation with my three little ones. I don't have chunks of multiple hours to go through this process. Possibly that's true for you – your thinking/planning/decision-making has to happen “on the fly” some portion of the time? I'm betting. If so, I'd love to know how you do it, too – what strategies and techniques you employ.

2010 Theme, Schematic Applied

So, back to the 2010 theme to tie this all together. Yesterday, amid “stay seated while the train is moving” reminders and slicing carrots during dinner preparation, I checked in with my question: “What is the theme for 2010?”

As always, no neon signs descended from the sky (which would be absolutely freaky, if but handy). However, the word “open” and the word “space”, in various forms, kept showing up: openness, expansion, space, spaciousness, bigness, invitation, opening. This response was consistent enough that I am certain that the 2010 theme is there.

Trust and Strategy

I always trust stuff more that I didn't “think up” in one of my power sessions. That's another little interesting tidbit. I trust this response that kept arriving in spite of almost no concerted thinking.

Now I'm on step 5 for today. I'll be asking more questions of this “opening” theme idea and see what arrives. I'll gut, heart and mind (GHM) check as I go. Tomorrow, I hope to be ready to write it all down (step 10). Monday, when I will have a chunk of “thinking” time again, I'll work out the details of how my theme applies to this next year's goals and make appropriate commitments (step 11).

What are some of the strategies you use for goal-setting, resolution-making, New Year planning… ?

Thanks to Orin Zebest for the open arms image.