Monday, May 28, 2012

The secret plan for world domination

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about the challenges posed by trying to become a superhero (see the road to becoming a superhero is pavedwith broken ice makers).  To recap – I wrote about the difficulty in transforming into a comic book character cut from the Batman cloth (sans mystical/magical/supernatural/superscientific intervention).  In my case, I did not want to be the Dark Knight nor Iron Man but Super-Bad-Ass-Dada… a.k.a. Subad.  Most of you will not be too surprised to learn that it was mostly tongue in cheek.  However, the handful of readers out there who know me well probably suspected something else lurking below the surface of the Subad story.  You might have seen the shadow cast by a Secret Plan.

The dangers inherent in revealing a secret plan are legion.  Among the most obvious issues is that of commitment.  Once you have publicly committed to a course of action you have bound some of your credibility to the outcome.  You have to walk the talk.  Quitting and walking away from the project takes on a whole different aspect.  The declaration of “this I will do” is a bit like a marriage vow.  You stand before your assembled friends, family, and even the gods of your ancestors and declare “I am on the plane till we level out or crash into the mountain”.  There is no bailing out.  You throw out the parachute.  It is very hard to do the first time.  The second time, after a crash and burn, is brutally hard.  Most of us crash and burn a few times before we learn to either play it safe/shut up - or to walk our talk.  Just because revealing the Secret Plan is scary though is no reason not to do it.  Throwing out the parachute, when the flight is worth it, is a critical step.  Some flights leave without you if don’t toss it before boarding.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Super-Bad-Ass-Dada or just a Regular-Old-Bald-Ass-Dada.  Subad and Robad are faced with people that do want them to succeed.  Both Subad and Robad have overt enemies try to poison the wells, well-intended but limiting friends, and unequivocal supporters.  Unfortunately, stories told by the first two groups are the easiest to hear.  Both are telling themselves narratives that are different than the narrative of the Secret Plan.  One of the hard parts about reinventing yourself is breaking out from the force of the story that other people are telling themselves about you.  Almost everyone says “I don’t care what other people think about me”.  We are all liars.  We care.  The stories carry a weight that propels, drags upon, enrages, motivates, depresses, and limits us.  Make no mistake – most of the time we play a serious role in the shaping of these stories. The enemies’ stories and the friends’ are a combination of our actions and how they have chosen to interpret them.  Sometimes the story is grossly unfair; and, other times it is something we can never live up to.  It is seldom dead on accurate.  It might be who you were… but it doesn’t have to be who you are going to be.  You can write a new story.  There is a point at which you have to let people in on the Secret Plan.  If you don’t they never get to change their story about you, and trust me – you will need the energy that their new story creates.  Secret Plans cannot be implemented on your own, doesn’t matter if you are Subad or Robad. 

My own Secret Plan is uber-ambitious but is broken into concrete stages that build upon one another.  It does not involve having an island hideaway with lots of henchmen and a giant city-killing laser or anything like that.  It is based on some pretty basic premises. 
1. I am happier when I am very fit. 
2. The longer I live, the more time I have to be successful. 
3. I am a teacher and a coach.
4. I am a competitor.          
5. We need me to have an income.

All of those premises add together to equal my own Secret Plan.  In a nutshell, the plan is to....  Well, more to follow.  Maybe.  Walking away.  Plan stays Secret for now.  Some things are better left....

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