March 1

Coffee With Mike- Planning and Control

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Planning is really about creating a series of smooth transitions. Smooth being a variable term, how smooth it can actually be depends on what else is going on in life and in the world around us. But the idea of planning is not just how does something happen instantaneously. It's more about, how do I allow things to grow? It's more like farming or gardening, right? We are taking seeds of ideas, seeds of money, seeds of time, seeds of energy, and seeds of relationship, and we're planting them. 

As good farmers, we need to make sure that the stuff we planted in is good and fertile, but also that we give it time. Give it time to mature, give it time to do what it's supposed to do, and let it grow. So, in order for us to do that, we just have to see the fact that-- understand the fact that there are transitions that occur, transitions that occur naturally, and for us not to force that but to be able to anticipate that so that we can see that as a transition begins to occur that we don't fight against it, we don't fight against that. 

I remember someone telling me about the frustration they had about making financial decisions with their spouse, because no matter how many different ways they went about trying to deal with that area of their life, (finances), it always ended up in an argument, and it was very frustrating for everybody. Nobody was winning, and nothing was getting done. Nobody was feeling satisfied, no one was feeling secure, and everyone was wondering, how do we overcome this? Is there any way to overcome this? 

So, part of it was is that the control that one of the spouses felt they needed to keep was in the way, and the other spouse needed to feel like they were in more of that decision-making area where they could have some control, some input into that. They were getting to the point where, "it doesn't really matter what I think, you're going to want to do anyway. Why do I need to say anything? You're going to do what you want to do." So, we were working on that together, and as we began to work on that, one thing I began to notice is that the spouse who needed control began to feel freer and more confident being able to give some control to the other spouse. 

Yet when that happened, the spouse who actually wanted more input all of a sudden began to push back and say, "Oh, no no. I don't want to get involved now. I mean, you've always wanted to do it your way, and if I suggest something and it doesn't turn out to be right, then I'm going to get the blame, so no. You make the decision. You make the decision." 

They weren't ready really to take on what they were being offered. See, what was happening here is there's a transition, and the transition is happening on one side and there's got to be a natural opening for that, whatever you're giving, there needs to be a natural opening for someone willing to receive it. So, there has to be some patience on this end, and there has to be some courage, some desire to accept more responsibility on the other side. That is just a natural process of continuing to bring it to the floor and allow people to really grow into their roles of giving up a little control, in taking on a little bit more of control; giving up some responsibility, taking on some responsibility. 

"...there are transitions that occur, transitions that occur naturally, and for us not to force that but to be able to anticipate..."

That is what I'm calling a transition. Let's not fight the transitions. I think there are times where you are seeing-- you're actually experiencing a transition, and you're fighting it because you don't want to stop doing it the way you've been doing it. You don't want to have to start thinking about it a different way, you don't want to start communicating a different way, and you start fighting it because it's just a little bit more troublesome. But it's the transition that's occurring. I want to encourage you to start looking for these trouble spots and seeing if they're really not transitions to greater cooperation, to greater opportunity, to greater success, to better relationships. That's my challenge for you today.

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