Planned Spontaneity

Planned Spontaneity

I grew up in a military family. Lunch was at noon. Supper was at 5:00. My Dad’s idea of rebellion was wearing black civilian socks with this military outfit. If we were on a trip my Mom had all the food planned ahead and packed. It was nothing for my Mother, when visiting me, to ask me what was for supper 2 days ahead! 

For those of you that know Myers-Briggs, I weigh in as an ENFP. Extrovert. Intuitive. Feeling. Perceiving. Described on the 16 Personalities website: “The ENFP personality is a true free spirit.”  (    

Routine does not come to me naturally but I grew up subjected to it in the extreme. Some of my Dad’s discipline I have envied over the years but rarely mimicked. In fact many years ago when I chose to do a year of competitive body building one of the main reasons was wanting to have a season of high discipline and routine in my life.  

So even though my personality loves spontaneity, I still have some old tapes playing that keep me coloring inside the lines in some parts of my life. Bill, my dear hubby, did not grow up in a military family and has different tapes. Thank God! 

We had a large day the other day that ended with a lovely party with coaching colleagues at the beautiful Austin Club. Home is now about an hour’s drive from downtown Austin (depending on Austin traffic, of course). Bill suggests we just stay at a lovely hotel nearby. 

Fantastic idea. 100% not an idea that would have been acceptable in my family growing up or for most of my adult life. Awesome idea none the less. 

Now, here’s where we need to do a gap analysis. We literally show up in this nice hotel very dressed up, coming from our fancy party. Our “luggage” is 3 plastic grocery shopping bags containing our clothes that we were wearing before the party with their appropriate shoes. I actually find this quite hilarious. Some of you may be feeling embarrassed on my behalf but I LOVED the freedom of it. 

Now, here’s what would have been nice. An bag in the trunk with toothbrushes and paste, deodorant, clean underwear. Granted you can get most of that from the front desk, what I want in my life is organized spontaneity. (Oxymoron?) My parent’s organization abilities and passion definitely wore off on me some.  

Whichever end of the spectrum you are coming from there is something joyful in choosing to be spontaneous. It opens up new possibilities. It’s like getting a surprise present! Life can get so serious sometimes. Spontaneity flies in the face of that. It’s like hitting pause on all of the “shoulds” that we live with. 

It increases our flexibility.  

What would growth in openness to spontaneity look like for you? 

What would you like to do in the next few days that you normally wouldn’t give yourself permission to do? 

I’m going to do more coloring outside the lines. I hope you join me!

I'll be taking next week off to enjoy the holidays, so "Marilyn's Musings" will be back in the New Year! 

Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful holiday season. 


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Marilyn Orr is a Professional Certified Coach, who, through her coaching business “Capacity Building Coaching”, thrives on building both personal and organization capacity through leadership coaching and development.

1 comment (Add your own)

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Thu, May 3, 2018 @ 8:26 PM

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