Now What? Finding a Path in the Dark

If you have been chasing a goal for a long time there might come a time that you actually end up catching it. That you achieve what you set out to achieve. You get so caught up in the endless attempt to achieve the goal that you neglect to plan on what to do when you reach it. This can lead to the “Now what?” moment.

I know it did for me back when I wrote my first book. I remember after finishing that last sentence and just feeling empty. Not elated, not happy, not anything really. Nothing, just empty. I had been so focused on writing that book for so long that when I finished it I didn’t know what to do.

It took me a few months before I even looked at it again, before I was able to take in two things, one being that I still had a lot of work to do and the other that I had accomplished something not many people accomplish. I had written a full length novel.

For so long I had been so focused on writing that book that once it was done I didn’t know what to do with myself. It was the one thing I had wanted to accomplish before I died and I had accomplished it. The problem was I had never really planned on accomplishing it, so I had no plan beyond “write a book”. I had not planned for success.

I spend so much time planning for failure and hedging against loss for when I fail that I never plan for when I succeed. I always assume that I will fail at everything I set out to do, this leaves me at a loss when I actually succeed at something (rare as that is).  There is an element of forging a path in the dark that comes with success.  When we succeed we are in new territory, virgin land and knowing what path to take can be difficult.

That is why planning to succeed is more important than planning to fail. That is why I need to work on actually planning for success, because a lot of things have fizzled out just as they were getting started. A lot of times I never planned on getting as far as I got and ended up messing it all up at an important moment.

To continue with the example of my first book, I should have had an editing and re-writing plan in place. I should have had draft publisher packages ready so I could start sending it out to publishers, I should have had more people read it before publishing it. I know what I did wrong, I had nothing lined up, I had no plan on what to do if I actually finished it. I never believed I would finish it then when I was close to finishing I was too caught up in the process to plan on what to do next.

That is why planning to succeed is important from the outset, it helps limit instances of having to find your path in the dark. It is a lot easier to navigate when you know where you want to go.

Right now in my life I am in that kind of place. At a cross road that I have not been at since I graduated university, and I don’t know which path to take. I never planned to get where I am and now am forging a path in the dark. But is that not what we are all doing?

I don’t know, I guess my point is maybe spend some time planning for success, so that when it comes you can keep it going.

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