My family and I traveled to my in-laws for the fourth of July weekend. Unlike the cliche of this being a nightmarish experience, we very much look forward to heading down to Vidalia, GA and always have a great time.
To make my time even more enjoyable, I brought my bike so I could go on a few rides while we were down. If you're anything like me, you'll pack some workout clothes in your bag when you travel even if you haven't worked out in months. Like somehow you'll magically make the time to hit the gym or go running because you're out of your normal rut.
When I bring my bike though, it's different. I look forward to riding it. I will strategically maneuver my day to account for an hour long bike ride instead of complaining that I don't have time. I use the excuse "I don't have time" for lots of things, but that's one of the fibbiest lines known to man. The truth is you don't make time. Big difference between the two as everyone has the same amount of time, it's just allocated differently by personal priority.
This was the first time that I brought my bike on a trip to the onion capital, so I didn't know which route would be the best to take when the time came to ride. I typically like to go 15-20 miles without too much road overlap. I studied a few possible routes on my phone and carefully plotted my course. According to my plan, it included some nice long country roads for a fairly low traffic ride.
Plans are necessary and vital for most projects, products, and general endeavors, but there is one common thread throughout nearly every plan. Change. Plans deviate slightly from the original and sometimes, they're thrown out completely when contradicting circumstances reveal themselves.
I was en route. Grinding down the asphalt with that euphoric feeling of being somewhere new and doing something different. I remembered my road route acronym as I pedaled off. GOTM - Grossman, Oxley, Tap, Miracle.
After the first set of planned roads were passed I came to my next leg, Jess Lane. This seemed like the perfect road to bypass the main highway, but when I got there, I realized my carefully crafted plan had failed me.
Jess Lane wasn't much of a lane. It was more like a dirt and grass driveway that seemed to disappear into a cluster of country houses. Road bikes aren't equipped to handle that type of terrain, no matter how meticulous the original plan.
I could've turned back, but I decided to keep going down the highway to look for the next paved country road allowing me to continue my zen-like ride. I was willing to stomach the occasional 18 wheeler zooming by, in search of my new clandestine path.
I got to the next road after a few more miles. It was dirt. "Crap." I had to turn around after all. By going so far down the main road, I accomplished my goal of riding 15+ miles within an hour, but it didn't look like my original plan.
A plan is merely a series of tactics that lead to an ultimate goal. They're a catalyst of set constraints that propel you forward by limiting choice. I was upset that things didn't go according to plan, but still accomplished my goal.
How many times do we fret over our plans? Our workout plan, meal plan, project plan. Plans are important, but can only account for so many things. You ultimately have to do the thing that you're planning for. Only by doing can you reveal the possible pitfalls.
My plan for riding a specific route was thwarted, so I changed my plan mid-plan with a new plan. That failed and I changed again, but I still accomplished my goal.
I failed twice, but still succeeded. I can't help but ponder this concept as a much deeper metaphor for life's circumstances, both professionally and personally.
"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." - Benjamin Franklin