A Fish Story – Do you make things harder than they need to be?

fish collage crop_sizedI do. I can make things harder and more complicated than they need to be.  Not all the time with everything, but it  happens.  Why I still do this for some things and not others is often a bit of a mystery to me when it pops up.  Today I had an experience thawing out fish for dinner that helped me understand why I have been avoiding moving forward on a project I am really interested completing, but I just can’t dive in and get it going.  See if you can relate.

I had created a problem I wasn’t sure how to solve, and I had been avoiding it for weeks. A while back, I had been in a hurry to leave for a trip.  Instead of putting the 2 pounds of Tilapia filets I bought (on sale) into separate meal size freezer bags like I usually do, I stuck the whole package in the freezer with all the filets mounded together in one big lump.

It was way too much for one meal. My concerns for possible waste or inefficiency and not knowing exactly how to make everything work out perfectly in a specific way under conditions I was used to, had stopped me. I had been avoiding the intimidating lump of fish.  I could see the same blocks and and not knowing how to make it work out perfectly were holding me back from really engaging in my new writing project.

Instead of needing a perfect plan, today it was more important for me to have fish for dinner.  I just decided to try it and explore how I could make it work – with only a fuzzy plan.  I had to adjust my approach and expectations along the way.  I was able to thaw one step at a time progressively, testing and adjusting along the way.  I spontaneously discovered and used a new technique to help separate the filets and keep them whole while still icy. I ended up with fish for dinner, and the insight that sometimes I don’t need a highly detailed plan to begin.

Fish for dinner in less than two hours was the clear goal. The path appeared one step at a time. Commitment to the outcome and clarity about its value is what really mattered.  I had to give the ‘figure out a plan first’ scientist in me permission to relax and stand aside and let the creative ‘let’s explore even if it’s messy’ part of me lead.  Looking back, it was simple.  Facing it before hand was intimidating.  By applying this insight, my writing project has finally moved forward.

What project or task have you been avoiding?  In my experience the greatest value of a detailed plan is that it gets you started.   Even excellent plans almost always require adjustment along the way.  If you are avoiding something worthwhile, and not having a good enough plan is holding you back, let go and just jump in and explore a bit.  Don’t make things harder or more complicated than they need to be. You may discover something new or unexpected so it does work out perfectly, just not exactly the way you may have planned before you started.

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