Warning: Adult language ahead!
“Expect the best and prepare for the worst.”
The first time I saw this quote I thought it was great.
So great, actually, I think I might have had it as an email signature quote. Super.
It made sense to me, the optimistic planner, that one would expect great things to happen—but at a cost, a risk, a loss.
Blood, sweat, and tears. No pain, no gain, emphasis on the pain. How optimistic of me. . . or not.
Today I look at that quote and think, instead, “um, come again? I beg your f#cking pardon?”
Really? So we should: a) have expectations, b) simultaneously assume the worst will happen, and c) plan for it, thereby bringing that kind of negative energy into the scene?
Um, I’m going with a solid “no” on taking that advice. I call bullshit. I know a bunch of crap when I see it and uh, I’ve stood knee deep in that proverbial manure more often than I’d like to admit.
When it comes to preparing for the worst, I make the the Red Cross look pink.
I am, by nature, a planner. I always have been, and as much as I work to stop trying to tame the beautiful chaos that is my life, I probably always will be. I think in spreadsheets, timelines, and orders of operation. I operate extremely well under pressure and on the fly, and I can pivot so fast it’ll make your head (and mine) spin.
This is a slippery slope though, with quite the drop off at the end and sans the soft landing.
I mean, it’s good, in several capacities; I am quite efficient and effective at many tasks and skills because of this. I’m a “make it happen” kind of girl, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Except when it is.
Because it also however, can be the biggest setup for failure in my life.
When it comes to planning, the one thing I have learned how to do best is prepare for impact.
Self-preservation. Maintenance of the Ego.
Exit strategies? Yeah, I’ve got more of those than a Kardashian divorce attorney.
This habit goes way back. Way, way, way back. High school days even, shudder.
When I was on my high school volleyball team I used to get this sort of premonition, this vibe or what I thought then was an instinct, of when we were going to lose. I’d get it game day, usually just before play began as we waited anxiously in the locker room to step out onto the court. I would just know we were going to lose. My body could sense it, or so I thought anyway.
I’d try to reframe, to think differently, to be optimistic, to imagine us winning, but it didn’t work. Every time I got that feeling, we’d lose.
Well, life is a game, right? Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Never mind the lessons in each for now, because here, in my adult life, I find myself facing once again in the locker room looking out the doors at a court upon which I know I’ll stand, play, and frequently, fail.
And, while I know there will be wins and I know I will bring my “A” game no matter what, and I know I will have fun regardless of what happens next, I still anticipate where and when I’m going to fall, what I’m going to lose and how much pain it will cause me.
So, I bring my protective gear out into play with me, arms swinging but prepared to miss, dodging blows before they come, cushioning my fall before it happens, practicing my gracious loser face before it’s even required.
I keep mentally setting myself up to not get hurt, and instead, it’s actually hurting me more.
This whole preparing for the worst bit? It’s not helping me. At all.
What it does, in fact, is create a vibration of negativity in my soul that emits out into the universe and its field of energy. It sends a message of scarcity, of weakness, of hesitation, of impoverishment, of power-less, instead of power- “full.”
Preparing for the worst invites deficiency to come sit in my lap and stay awhile.
When I signal to the universe that I’m ready to receive it drops it on me, fast, and hot. When I withdraw, it responds in kind.
If I enter into a relationship with the underlying belief that it’s not going to work out, it won’t.
If I walk into a client meeting with the presence of mind that it won’t be a good fit, it won’t.
If I start a project knowing I’m not committed or invested, it won’t succeed.
If I want to make money but consider myself fundamentally incapable, my income will never change.
The universe can smell my fear. It can hear my inner voice. It knows me. I.Can’t.Hide.
This is a big discovery for me. Monumental. Epically large. Life changing.
I just realized how I’ve been undermining my own progress, standing in my own way, and shortchanging my own happiness. And all based on skepticism and doubt.
My internal instructional manual has been telling me “Whatever you do, be prepared for the shit to hit the fan. Always bring an umbrella. Always.”
No more. I’m turning that channel off for good; this is now an umbrella-free zone.
Perhaps, instead, I can move forward with a different attitude. With a belief that what I want is already mine. That everything I desire is, and always has been, my own. If I am open to seeing it in different forms, I guarantee I will find it, it will come to me, it will find its way home to my heart.
Consider what will happen if I move from a place of certainty. My signal will shift and my reality will adjust accordingly. The law of attraction will elicit new results.
This will leave my hands open for something different. Something better. I won’t need the umbrella, because I have a tiny but mighty toolbox in my pocket instead, a swiss army knife, as it were.
I have the lifeskills (or the ability to find the skills) to deal with life as it comes. When challenges arise, I can handle them with more grace. I can respond to change by going with the flow instead of building a dam to redirect the stream before it gets to me.
I know how to manage pain, to weather the storms, and how to generally, well, suck it up buttercup, and move onward and upward. Everything is impermanent, even this.
There is no great benefit in preparing to fail. Being strategic and wise so that I may move forward with a thoughtful purpose and path is not the same as suiting up for the inferno. No one leaves life untouched, those that stand and watch the flames are no less inflicted than those who step blindly into the smoke. There is a difference between playing with fire, and walking confidently through it.
The difference is intention. The difference is attitude. The difference, is believing I can, and letting the Divine know it.
Dear Universe, I accept. Thank you.
“The truth is that we were born to have it all. And part of our handicap as adults is that we no longer understand our potential.”
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Jack Mallon/Flickr Creative Commons