One of my favorite poems while growing up was the often quoted, ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost. My grandfather, a congregationalist minister, had a deep, measured, slow delivery and I loved when he read Robert Frost. ‘The Road Not Taken’ used to be a favorite of the family – possibly because of the powerful way my grandfather finished the final line, ‘…and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.’
As a real estate agent, there are inherent risks in our business. It can easily become an expensive proposition if one doesn’t have a plan and clear systems in place. So I’ve always adhered closely to the idea of having a plan. I’ve written many business plans and coached others on creating systems and plans that can help to mitigate some of that risk.
However, I may be in the midst of a lesson about planning that I didn’t bargain for or intend. A few weeks ago, my husband was handed his walking papers along with 70% of his office. Not in ‘The Plan’.
For years, Michael has wanted to begin his own company. He has many years of experience, wonderful connections in his industry, and already there is solid business on the horizon, but I’ve never felt good about passing up that every-2-week paycheck. The paycheck is part of ‘The Plan’.
There’s no question that he now has an incredible opportunity, the time, and the severance to give it a go. A shot – and on someone else’s dime for several months. In many ways, this just may be a gift.
Dreaming Versus Pragmatism
I’ve described my relationship with Michael on AG before. He’s the dreamer. I’m the pragmatist. I found the perfect metaphor the other day to describe it: if he was to drive to New York from our home in California, he’d pack us all in the car and head east. I, on the other hand would want to know what roads we’d be traveling, where we would be stopping, what’s the budget for hotels and food, and when would we get there – exactly.
While we butt heads a bit and I’m driving him, and myself, wild with the details, part of me is wondering if I’ve limited my own business. Have I worked so hard at planning, that I fail to take the risks that are required for the biggest rewards? Have I looked for the safest route, rather than the best? What have I cost us by being so focused on ‘The Plan’?
The Amazing ‘What If”
It might be time to let go of the limits a bit and think of what might be possible if you weren’t so focused on ‘how’ and instead just thought about the amazing – ‘what if’.
This may be a bit more revealing than I intended for a blog post but I think it’s an interesting question to ask oneself. I think there is a middle ground here. Michael and I love being around each other for a reason. Together we seem to find that middle place.
Michael has gone with ‘The Plan’ for a while – a long while. Maybe it’s my turn to stretch out of what is comfortable for me. We are about to venture down the road less taken. I’ll let you know where it leads.