You are not a flake

So I was catching up with an old friend over lunch just before Christmas, filling her in on the past 8 months of my life…8 months of major life-shifting as I moved into full-time coaching.  I said to her, “Obviously the plans changed a lot since the last time I saw you” and she responded, “Yeah, but Heath…the important thing is that you always have a plan.”

At first I thought “Whaaaaa???”  But then I realized it’s true.  My plans changed A LOT over time, but there was always a plan.  The thing about my plans is that there was no logical progression.  They seemed schizophrenic to anyone outside of my own head.  (Even though the evolution always made perfect sense to me).

For example; nine years ago I returned to Canada from living in Mexico, proclaiming to everyone that I was only spending the summer in Canada and then I was off to live and work in Japan again.

Wrong.

Things happened, priorities changed, and the next thing you know I’m working for a big corporation doing a job I never imagined for myself in a million years.

Many moons later after leaving said corporate job, I proclaimed to everyone that I was headed to grad school in Cape Town.  Because, you know…it seemed totally right at the time.

Things happened, priorities changed, and I ended up planning on grad school in Canada instead.

Fast forward six months.

Things happened, priorities changed, and I was no longer interested in grad school.

I sound like a total flake right?

flake

Well, I’m happy to say that I’m not, but it just took me a while and a whole lotta bullshit-slaying in my own societally-conditioned mind to realize that I am at heart, an entrepreneur, and that I had really just been looking for answers in all the wrong (read: conventional) places.  Part of that realization was accepting that I was capable of totally going rogue and building the business that would leverage all of my skills.  A big leap!

The thing is, I know many family members and neighbours talked about me like I was flaky and just couldn’t make up my mind.  I used to get the old, “So what’s the plan now?”  ALL the time.  As though somehow me changing my mind about what I wanted to do with my life offended their sensibilities.  As though I should have just made up my mind like a normal person and stuck with it.

Boring.

How the hell are you ever going to figure out what you really should be doing with yourself if you don’t try on various hats and live with that decision for a while?

Let me tell you, the decision to go to grad school in Cape Town and relocating my dog and my partner to do so….believing it….even beginning the planning process….it really made me examine a lot of what was important to me and what I was willing to sacrifice in pursuit of what I thought would lead me to my dream.

And then it didn’t work out.

And that was ok.  But I learned a ton from living that reality for a while.

Same with other incarnations of my plans.  In fact, I owe all of my plan changes a debt of gratitude because they’re what brought me to now, where I feel an incredible sense of synchronicity with what I’m doing and where I’m going.

And the thing is, when I do commit to something, I rock it completely.   I am super driven and have an excellent track record in between all of my indecision.  I’ve had an amazing life as a result, and I feel like all this has only been a warm-up for greater things.

I am not a flake. And I’m telling you this story because I suspect…neither are you.

Now, I know there are thousands of actual flakes out there.  People who go through life never really completing anything and expecting their family or friends to bail them out when they make bad decisions.

I’m not talking about them.

I’m talking about those of us who go hard or go home.

There’s nothing wrong with indecision, and you don’t need to continue the commitment to Plan A if it doesn’t fit anymore just to ease others’ discomfort.

Go forth and reinvent as much as you need to until you find that thing that feels so right it hurts.

It’s easy to feel discouraged by people who can’t reconcile your lack of definition.  But you’re the only person you need to answer to at the end of the day.

And be cautious about choosing a path by default…and if you do choose a default for practical reasons (gotta pay the bills, yo!) keep the bigger picture alive.  You owe it to your multi-talented self to keep the search alive until the perfect plan lands and fills your heart with a whole lot of “This is it!”

 

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{ 25 comments… add one }

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  • Rebecca June 7, 2012, 6:57 pm

    YES YES YES!!

    Oh mannn, the number of times I have changed my priorities about where my life was headed are too many to count. I’m a serial bailer, and I’m PROUD of it. It means I’m always checking in with how my life is feeling, and I’m honest enough with myself to make changes when I need to. Thanks for reminding me that I’m not the only one!

    Reply
  • Terra June 7, 2012, 6:57 pm

    THANK YOU for writing this.
    Sending you love, from one non-flake to another :)

    Reply
  • Kayla June 7, 2012, 7:01 pm

    AMEN :)
    This is something that people who are not non-flakes don’t get at all.
    Just because life doesn’t turn out the way you expect it to, doesn’t mean you’re a flake.
    From a career ADD’d non flake
    xoxoxox

    Reply
  • Rebecca June 7, 2012, 8:05 pm

    “Go forth and reinvent as much as you need to until you find that thing that feels so right it hurts.”

    Love this! It’s so easy to feel like a bit of a flake when you’re an amazing, multi-passionate person. I’m so glad there are other non-flakes out there who can relate :)

    Reply
  • Shari June 7, 2012, 8:20 pm

    Thank you for your authenticity Heather! I can so relate here and believe with all my heart that we MUST keep growing, expanding and being open to all the amazing possibilities that life has to offer…

    I have often felt alone on this journey so it’s WONDERFUL to meet you! :)

    Much love from another non-flake :)

    Reply
  • Ellen June 7, 2012, 8:31 pm

    YES AND YES. I call it ‘rapid pivoting’ – it’s not trading one dream or idea for sitting on the couch watching tv all day…it’s going after something else, and then something ELSE! Thanks for sharing your story!

    Reply
  • Charlotte June 7, 2012, 9:31 pm

    You’ve done it again roomie. Injected a thunderbolt of wisdom, positivity & inspiration *just* when I needed it (facing a roller-coaster of my complete career switch-up in an entirely new city!). Thank-you, thank-you, THANK YOU!

    Reply
  • Amber Goodenough June 7, 2012, 9:47 pm

    Hey Heather from a fellow b-schooler! I love this story thanks for sharing. I just has a similar experience. My plans to go live in Amsterdam next month just fell through. But I am a firm believer in if things are meant to be they will happen naturally. So I’m waiting to see what’s next. Cheers to the next great adventure!

    Reply
  • Bianca Filoteo June 7, 2012, 10:10 pm

    Brilliant post, Heather! And I completely agree – our indecisions MAY seem completely flakey but that’s because most people following society’s conventions don’t really understand what’s beneath our thought process. I’m seen as indecisive to most people, even to myself, but I don’t see it as such a negative thing when it comes to important matters of my life (planning the future, etc.). If anything, I feel like some of my indecisions stem from having too many ideas! Brainstorming and just thinking about all the possibilities out there ;)

    Reply
  • Te June 8, 2012, 12:18 am

    That doesn’t sound flaky to me at all. To me a flake is someone who lets you down, never turns up on time or at all! Can’t be relied on to finish a project they start or even start that project.
    If you dont try a bunch of stuff how will you find your sweet spot!

    Reply
  • Leela June 8, 2012, 5:26 am

    I would just like to add that we all too often feel like we’re in such control of our lives and destiny. We make all these plans, write up the lists, get on the phone. But in actual fact we have no control over any of it, it will all unfold as it is meant to. All we can really do is be open to the absolute fact that things constantly change, and if we flow with the current, we get to exactly where we should be for the moment we are in. It’s about surrender, courage, and TRUST x

    Reply
  • Esther June 8, 2012, 12:59 pm

    I am so right there with you, down to the grad school and the relocate the hubby and everything. Though I’m still working on the practical hows of it, I’ve found the aspect of ME that is so very essentially who I am and how I want to live, and it’s ridiculously liberating. All of a sudden I feel confident in who I am b/c I’m letting myself get to know that person!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Shannon June 8, 2012, 1:05 pm

    Awe Heather, you totally hit the nail there. My life to a T. Great post, thanks for putting it out there.

    Reply
  • Heather June 8, 2012, 1:59 pm

    Hey everyone! What an awesome bunch of comments – I am SO glad this is resonating with so many of you. It’s easy to be left feeling like an outsider (especially if you live in a small town or rural area) and I think it’s super important to follow your own gypsy soul NO MATTER WHAT. And Leela, I LOVE what you said about surrender, courage, and trust. I agree with you completely. It’s only when we stop trying to force things….force an answer or a choice…that we can really be open and trust that our life’s work is actually right in front of us. Love to you all!

    Reply
  • Jan June 8, 2012, 5:42 pm

    Well said Heather. You are not a flake, that’s for sure. and life is much more interesting when you take all sorts of different paths. keep on rocking!

    Reply
  • Sue Ann Gleason June 9, 2012, 1:39 pm

    I love my multi-passionate life and multi-talented self. When I finally gave myself permission to enjoy every facet of it, my life shifted. I loved this post, Heather. Here’s the line that leaves me smiling: And the thing is, when I do commit to something, I rock it completely. “I am super driven and have an excellent track record in between all of my indecision. I’ve had an amazing life as a result, and I feel like all this has only been a warm-up for greater things.” I can relate!

    Reply
  • Cathy Sykora June 9, 2012, 2:37 pm

    Love it!

    Reply
  • Denise June 11, 2012, 1:47 am

    You are a girl after my own heart. Like you I’ve done so many different things and spent way too much trying to fit my unconventional self in the world’s conventional mold. Here’s too living the dream on our terms.

    Reply
  • Nicola June 14, 2012, 7:59 am

    Heather, you are so talking about me in this post and I really love your perspective on this issue. I have changed jobs more times than I care to mention, but whenever I have been in that place I have been committed to that situation 110%. Then feelings change, I want more or something different. I’ve always admired friends that have stuck out the jobs they hate, and climbed the corporate ladder, thinking “what’s wrong with me? why can’t I be like that? I’m smart” but I know now that all of my experiences are just appetizers, something to clean the palate so that I’m ready for the main course and it will be spectacular!

    Reply
  • Heather June 21, 2012, 5:08 pm

    Hey Jan, Sue Ann, Cathy, Denise and Nicola! Thank you SO much for joining the conversation. I feel that it’s something that’s not talked about much, and yet so prevalent!! Just because not all of us fit into the mold that standardized schooling was supposed to have prepared us for, doesn’t mean we are deficient in any way. And I truly look forward to the day when different paths and individual creativity are held in higher regard, rather than quashed by society at large. What a courageous bunch you all are. I love it!

    Reply
  • Tania July 8, 2012, 2:42 pm

    I felt a tingling in the deep pit of my stomach when I read this, Heather…RESONANCE! Thanks for your inspiring words and action!

    Reply
  • Brena September 25, 2012, 10:18 pm

    I think I’ve read this post about 3 times now. Oh, and bookmarked it too :)

    Reply
    • Heather September 27, 2012, 5:22 am

      Brena, you have no idea how happy that makes me. No idea. So glad it resonates. :)

      Reply
  • Samantha Bangayan October 4, 2012, 12:51 am

    This is a post I really, really believe in because I can relate to it so personally. I throw myself into my plans. I was going to med school, I was going to accept a Master’s award, I was going to live in Japan, I was going to do an internship in Peru. Some things panned out and others didn’t, but I think the reason that I’ve been able to discover passions is precisely because I put my heart into everything and that I’m always willing to try something new. I hope you were able to touch a lot of people with your story and this post, Heather! Thanks for being an amazing role model. =)

    Reply
    • Heather October 5, 2012, 8:09 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment Samantha – I love that you put your heart into everything but aren’t attached to the outcome. Just because others have expectations of what our life trajectory should be, doesn’t mean it’s what’s right for us. This life is so rich with opportunities, it seems ridiculous that we WOULDN’T try a number of things on for size until we know what feels right. There’s a big difference between being a serial quitter and the process of soulful discovery.

      Reply
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