I’ll admit, I like to play things safe. I like to know the outcome before I throw the dice. I don’t leap without looking. Everything in my life is perfectly planned out well in advance and I’m prepared for every situation.
Life doesn’t always stick to our plans though– it has its own ideas of what we should be doing.
Sometimes, we have to be willing to throw the plans away and let life lead the way.
That’s what I learned one year ago, when on a whim, I applied for the Disney College Program. I’ve often been asked why I applied– the answer is I don’t know. The summer before I applied, I told my parents I could never apply because it didn’t fit in my perfect plan I had for my college years and yet, when I sat down at my laptop last October and applied, that perfect plan didn’t seem to matter for a moment.
I never thought that I would get into the Disney College Program and then, I did. I had three days to decide whether or not to continue on my planned road or to get off the beaten track. Being someone who does not like risk, I can say that I shocked everyone, including me, when I made the decision to take a semester off of Georgetown to move to Orlando to intern with Disney.
I will always be grateful that I took that huge leap of faith. Disney pushed me to be uncomfortable and try something completely new. I had never worked a job like I did at Disney, I had never been so far away from my family, and I had never been in a city before where I knew absolutely no one. This discomfort pushed me to grow as a person and I walked out in May with such a sense of clarity on who I was, what I wanted in my future, and what was important to me.
None of that growth would have happened if I hadn’t taken the original risk of applying to this program and then choosing to pursue it. I gained so many great experiences and an amazing support system while in Disney, and it is almost insane to think now that none of that would have happened if I had done what I usually do and stuck to the plan. It had been a dream of mine forever, but I assumed it could only be just that: a dream.
Life’s best experiences happen when we don’t expect them and aren’t ready. They require us to put down the to-do lists and life plans (yes, I actually had a document entitled life plan on my computer that mapped out the next five years of my life). They ask that we have faith that everything will work out just fine. They only happen if we stop trying to plan the future and accept the unknown.
All we need for them to happen is a little bit of faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.