Years ago, I worked for Apple. (This was in the time period of special edition U2 iPods and before iPhones were even a thing.) All new employees went through extensive customer interaction training and one of the things you were never allowed to say is, “I don’t know.” Unacceptable. Full stop. Not happening while you’re surrounded by tables individually crafted out of hand-selected maple by Fetzer Woodwork and gray-blue Pietra Serena sandstone floors sourced from right outside of Florence. Go work for Microsoft with your “I don’t know” bullshit answer.*
Instead, the right answer was, “I don’t know, but I will find out.” and then you were to do everything you could to source and deliver the correct answer for your customer. (Outside of whatever was going to be revealed during the next Keynote…we really had no more clue than anyone else, promise.)
I get a lot of questions these days about bus related minutia. I’m thrilled to talk to those who are genuinely curious about how everything will work, and I probably could provide another hour of info that you don’t really need/want about buses and bus related accessories. However, even with all the new information I’ve gained in the last three months (yes, it’s really only been three months since we brought the Pigeon Bus home), there is still an endless amount to learn. I certainly don’t have every answer, nor will I pretend to. So my answer to many inquiries has to be “I don’t know, but I will find out.”
I’ve discovered that this answer makes some people (especially those who don’t get why we are doing this**) really uncomfortable…my lack of an absolute five-year plan with every possible detail worked out seems to make these folks squirm. As a partially reformed over-planner, I can understand why. I’m a person with near crippling anxiety and a plan can be wonderfully soothing, so I get it. My lack of answers makes this already big and overwhelming idea turn into a notion that feels out of control on top of being unfathomable for someone who doesn’t view life on a bus as all that appealing. People want to know that I’ve got this thing all figured out and squared away, but the honest answer (which is the only type of answer I’m willing to give) is that I don’t. I’m learning as I go here. I’ve never done this before. This is almost as new for me as it is for the person who says, “ZOMG! I could never do this! How can you?!” with all the judgey-ness they can muster…well, lucky for me, I’m not hampered by a lack of ambition.
I don’t know, but I will find out.
So how does a person who is riddled with anxiety, a person who is a serial hand-wringer and worrier extraordinaire embrace so much uncertainty?
Well, the last couple of years have done little to make me place a whole lot of faith in any plan and I’m tired of being continually upset when things don’t go the way I envisioned. The perfect dream house we were going to buy fell through. The jobs we planned our next move around didn’t happen. Our 3 kids and done plan got changed into 4 kids and done. The awesome birth I dreamed about turned into a cesarean. The business plans I made did nothing but cause more frustration and emptier pockets. Rock solid relationships crumbled to nothing. “I’ll always be there for you” turned into “I’ll always be there until we disagree”. The sister who should have outlived me didn’t. The ones I would have bet on always being around aren’t. Even my boring plans for kids and school and housework get blown to bits daily.
Things change. Shit happens. Promises are broken. Dreams don’t come true. Plans fall apart. C’est la vie.
Why should this be any different? Making a “this is what’s going to happen!” plan for the bus seems like a direct route to being disappointed. When you are so fresh and new and inexperienced, making a written in stone plan is toeing irresponsible. I need the room to pivot. To change directions. To make mistakes and fix them and move on without having to sweat, cry, and label myself as a failure over “The Plan” not going exactly the way I said it would. I don’t want to cling to a plan…I want to get creative for a better possibility. I don’t know it all, but I’m willing to put in the work to find out as much as I can. I have more faith in my ability to accomplish things as needed than in a plan that needs to be continually changed.
I’m going to take each thing as it comes, figure the hell out of it, make the best decision that I can based on the information I have, lean on those who have done this and succeeded before me, learn, and adapt.
How’s that for a plan?
* Why yes, I am a fangirl! Thanks for asking! #iSheep
** The dead giveaway that I’ve got a person who is questioning my sanity for doing this is when I get long, incredibly specific, not likely to happen, scenario type questions.
“But what about when the bus breaks down and you don’t have enough food to last for two weeks and the kids hate you for making them live on a bus and you have no cell phone reception and you have to walk 80 miles to the nearest town and they’ve never even heard of buses?! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO THEN?!”
“I don’t know yet. I’ll just have to figure it out once that happens.”
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’LL DO?! Perhaps you shouldn’t be doing this then! I know I would never do something like this!”
Well then…thanks for that. Moving right along. #notimefornaysayers #getonthebusorgetoutofmyway