If you were involved in a childbirth (note to men: you really can’t relate), you know that often times birthing classes discuss using guided imagery.  Of course, guided imagery is to aid in calming pre-birth anxiety. No one really ever does it during the course of childbirth:  That’s where the drugs come in.  Nonetheless, let us try to walk through a guided imagery for a committee proposal, shall we?

Let us start by getting comfortable.  Close your eyes.  Take a few deep, cleansing breaths to get relaxed.

Imagine yourself walking through an easily navigable path in a forest.  All around you are beautiful trees and foliage.  All flora and fauna are in perfect harmony here.  You can return from this path any time you wish, but you can also enjoy the path of tranquility as you walk along it.  You are alone, you and the members of your committee.  At the top of the path are the remaining faculty members, to whom you are delivering the beautiful flower in your hand known as “the proposal.”

As you walk, the gentle breeze caresses your face.  The sun warms you.  Everyone is in harmony. 

All of a sudden, one of the faculty members, with whom you are supposed to meet at the end of the trek, appears to block your path.  He shouts “TYPO!  TYPO!”   You remain calm, realizing that everyone has had typos before.  You fix the typos and move calmly past the professor.  You feel satisfied by your ability to help your colleague get past the typos.  You rest by a nice tree watching the stream nearby.

As you rise from your rest, another colleague appears on the path.  This one shouts “Section 3 of the proposal is harmful to the world!”  You address the reasons for Section 3, helping your colleague understand why it is there.  Your colleague moves to remove Section 3, and you realize that the colleague is happier for having carved out a pound of flesh.  This makes you happy, and you continue along the path.

You are close to your destination now.  You see your colleagues, eager to hear your ideas and embrace the wisdom of your proposal.  As your colleagues debate the merits, you calmly realize that the outcome does not matter.  You did your job.  As your colleagues attempt to rewrite important, well-thought out provisions during the brief faculty meeting group writing session, you feel no pride in authorship, knowing you have fulfilled the important function of delivery of the goods along the well-trodden path.  Soon, this will all be forgotten.  Like the Giving Tree, all that remains of the proposal is the stem.

You will revisit this path time and time again throughout your career.  Enjoy the beauty of the path, with no heed to the outcome.