I’ve always loved a good plan. A part of me finds great satisfaction in checking off those square boxes on my Action Item List. I’m sure it’s the feel-good squirt of dopamine that makes my little pleasure center rock!

Really though, a good plan helps us to juggle our daily commitments, to move the ball down the proverbial court. Conscious leadership involves taking responsibility for our results, our commitments, and, assuming we’re taking real action vs. simply getting caught up in mere activities, a good plan can work. We know this.

Our collective tendency, however, is to try to plan (read: cram) too much stuff into a day, an hour. We juggle. We finagle. We think we’re being smart, efficient even. At least that’s my MO.

Doesn’t work, though. It creates mischief instead. Sometimes high-priced mischief.

At first you may recognize it internally, that bit of worry creeping into your brow as you juggle all your commitments. You wonder what will get dropped from the list today; you imagine who it will it impact, your thoughts turning to damage control.

Unchecked, a not so subtle impact begins to show up. Interpersonally. With Expectations & Disappointments. Fatigue.

Finally . . . the Cram-It-All-In Tendency fully explodes and, well, you likely know the end of the story.

Breakdowns in Commitments happen and keep unfolding right before your eyes.

The tardy phone response—8 days later, the late report for the boss, the forgotten bill pay—oops a late fee, the ‘it slipped my mind’ response to your neighbor’s Big Birthday Party.

There is another way.

1 is 1. Number two doesn’t exist until one is complete.

We hear this dictum often from our aikido sensei, she holds us accountable to ourselves—“1 is 1” she admonishes us on the aikido mat, “2 doesn’t even exist until 1 is complete.”

On the mat my tendency to Cram-It-All-In shows up in my techniques, in my moves, in the 22 count jo kata, everywhere.

There I rush, impatient to get onto the next move. I anticipate—too much. I stop vs. flow. I tend toward inefficiency, using more energy than required.

There I find myself having to pay close attention, to slow down, to actually be in the particulars of a move, to wait for a moment to open up and reveal the next right action.

There I’ve learned that soooo much more space is available in each move if I am actually in it fully.

How we show up on the Mat is how we show up in Life.

Conscious leadership is about taking responsibility for our results, for what we create—on the mat.  If we practiced “1 is 1,” maybe we’d all be able to find the space and flow in this moment and flow with ease into the plans of the day.