Truth is, Beautifully Planned Life sort of shut down for a while.
I planned (smirk) to take a week off. And then it was a month. Which became two months, which became I can’t even remember how long.
Here’s what happened to cause it.
At the start of the year, when I wrote my 100 Things list, one of the things I included involved my 9-5 job. I wrote that I wanted to “get an OS rating”. That stands for “Outstanding” and is the highest performance rating you can achieve in the massive corporation I work for.
Previously I was rated a “High Achiever” … but I am forever trying to improve in every aspect of my life always and forever, so that wasn’t going to be good enough for me (side note: in high school I once presented an exam to my dad that was marked A. His comment was “room for improvement, then”. Later, at Uni, I told him I had “achieved 7s in all my subjects” and he was silent until I remembered to add “it’s out of seven”. So maybe there’s some old conditioning at work here ;) )
Anyway, I’d been giving it my all at my cubicle job. My all and then some, really. To get the rating of Outstanding, one must “regularly go above and beyond the requirements of the role” amongst other things.
So when I was called to send out an interesting communication about a new project, I stayed up until 2am creating 15 perfect direct mail packs.
When giving new staff members induction information, I created an entire Welcome Kit, including 60 pages of detailed instructions.
You get the picture. I was being so. fucking. outstanding. I was making myself sick.
No really - I was. Or, I should have been.
Because, um, hello? I’m Laura McDonald. I’m a life coach. I run Beautifully Planned Life.
What do I care about being Outstanding in my 9-5 job?
To be clear - that rating is about four ratings above anything that would put my job in any kind of peril.
Oh, and that rating doesn’t have much impact on my pay. Or any, really.
It was just because I said I wanted to do it. It was because that was the best you can possibly do, and I wanted to do the best.
Except, I wasn’t doing my best where it really counted. I wasn’t doing my best at home, I wasn’t doing my best in my business (I wasn’t doing anything in my business). I wasn’t being my best Laura.
Basically, my priorities were completely screwed up. So I took some time away from thinking what I “should” be doing. I decided to try and get back to my real self, not the person I had being trying to be.
So I decided it was time to find myself again. I moved where I worked in my 9-5 to an environment that would make it impossible for me to work late nights. And I started making a point of sticking to what was really important to me. The real me.
I took a roadtrip with one of my oldest friends. We explored places I’ve always wanted to go, we camped by the river, we sat around the campfire and talked for hours. She taught me how to properly drive my Jeep through the bush, we laughed a lot, ate good food, tasted every single beer on offer at a brewery and sang our guts out to good ol’ country music. It was awesome.
My girlfriend and I went to a country music festival. We camped for three days, listened to loads of live music, shopped for all my favourite brands (which are hard to find in the city) and enjoyed a fair bit of “just laying around” time.
Rather than rush around, I dedicated an entire weekend to preparing for and thoroughly enjoying the beautiful wedding of my gorgeous friend Stef.
And about work - I decided to make it as much fun as possible. I took every opportunity!
I caught up on Lost Girl, The Flash and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
It was awesome.
In the end I had such a better feeling of who I am and what I really want. What really matters to me. I had some seriously honest conversations with important people in my life and hit a massive RESET button on some relationships - completely for the better because now they are thriving.
And finally, I found my voice again. I sat at the computer and I could write to you again. I didn’t feel like a phoney, or like I had nothing to say. The words weren’t stuck anymore, they are flowing again.
I feel like I’ve come home. And I’m so happy to be here.
Turns out, just being me is awesome. And I’m really good at it. So I hope you’ll follow my lead, and just enjoy the hell out of being you.
Because you’re awesome, too.