As a coach, I’ve learned close-up-and-personal that people have very different relationships with planning. This becomes apparent in everything from how we shop for groceries, to how we plan a vacation, to how we tackle a big project or a change we want to make.
In working with people on finding their right work, or possibly aiming for a specific job – and really, anything they want to accomplish – I’ve seen patterns and styles of behavior that are pretty darn clear. So I’ve identified five planning archetypes that describe a spectrum of how people plan, and here they are:
The Scout - Always driven to be prepared. This person plans in detail for multiple possibilities, is careful and thorough, and likes to have things done early. They can get immersed in the tactics of the planning and forget to enjoy the view.
The Free Spirit – Wants to be guided by doing what inspires in the moment. The Free Spirit sometimes resists doing forward planning, which can make them feel hemmed in. They are prone to bursts of productive inspiration, but not on a schedule.
The Librarian – Researches and gathers information. The Librarian sometimes delays planning, wanting to have all possible information before identifying action steps. This person is great at seeing options, options, and more options.
The Pinball Wizard – Gets moving quickly and stays in action. The Pinball Wizard has a high level of motion and productivity, and loves getting things done, doing things as they come to mind or present themselves. Sometimes the actions are without a path or plan.
The Astronomer – Seer of the big picture view. The Astronomer chooses to look through the telescope to see the sky and the stars. This person is a driver of inspiration and purpose, and does not always see the ground-level steps.
See if you can identify with any one or more of these archetypes. Many of us are combinations of several – I tend to be part Free Spirit, part Librarian, which can drive a Scout partner to madness.
What does any of this matter? Because if we can understand our core tendencies and behaviors, we can work better with them. The most effective way to adjust, compensate, or amplify for any of our archetypes is with some version of small steps, not global changes. An excellent question to ask at any time is, “What is the best next small step to take?” – whether that means looking at what’s down on the ground or up at the sky.
In my coaching with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, my partner in Your Right Livelihood, we are always much engaged in helping people orient themselves around both their goals and their next steps in finding and pursuing their right work. If you are interested in a discovery call with one of us about a custom coaching package, please reach out here. We would also be delighted to welcome you to our Your Right Livelihood retreat Sept. 30 - Oct. 2, 2022, to find greater meaning in your work journey.