The Fall-Back Plan Makes Failure Inevitable

April 12, 2014 — 3 Comments
The Fall-Back Plan Makes Failure Inevitable | Joseph Lalonde

There is a question that may be familiar to you if you’re in the habit of living and working outside the norm. Maybe you are starting a business, trying to become a full-time writer/musician/artist; or attempting to launch something unique that has never been done before. If so then you have probably heard the words:

“So when this doesn’t work out, what’s your fall back plan (or Plan B)?”

So, what's plan B buddy?

Image by JD Hancock

Bump. There it is, right between the eyes; the question that brings you right back down to earth, the wind pulled from your sails.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with people about having a ‘plan B’ and I’ve noticed an interesting trend: There is something that sets apart those people who seem to succeed and those who give up right before they reach where they are trying to get.

It is not to do with whether or not they HAVE a Plan B. Rather it has everything to do with how they VIEW their Plan B. It is in fact the very essence and nature of what we might refer to as the ‘fall back plan’.

Everyone has a Plan B, even those people who don’t realize they have one. Einstein’s famous definition of insanity applies to people who try the same thing again and again expecting it to produce different results. Most of us recognize this, and will reach a point eventually where we stop and try something else (Plan B).

But those people who achieve what they set out to, and succeed in reaching their goals are those who recognize and OWN their Plan B. They point it in the opposite direction to the traditional and conservative ‘Fall Back Plan’.

They are the people who don’t just KNOW that failure is an opportunity to learn, they actually LIVE that truth as well.

They aren’t normally people who give themselves an ultimatum whereby things have to work out as planned (which they wont); or else they will give up and sink into something safe and comfortable, happy that at least they tried (fall back plan).

They persevere. They believe. They struggle. They pick themselves back up and try again. Plan B. More risk, more fear, and more creativity required this time. Plan C. Each time they pick themselves up and dust themselves off they get closer to where they want to be. Plan D.

Perseverance Begets Learning

When we persevere we learn. It happens without us consciously noticing. We learn about ourselves, about the world, and about other people. We also learn some important tools and potentially gain things like confidence, competence, and the ability to perform under pressure. Propelling ourselves forward into Plan B, (call it a fall FORWARD plan) we expand our comfort zones and open up the possibilities for where we are able to go.

The problem is not that we are failures. The problem is that we need to remember to keep moving forwards. Plan A is rarely good enough. It would be arrogant to think it was. Think back to when you started. Were you really equipped and skilled enough to succeed? I know I wasn’t.

Rather than a fall BACK plan, you should have a fall FORWARD plan. This plan should always carry MORE risk, it should encourage you to face MORE fear, and get you to explore MORE of yourself and the world around you. If your Plan B is more conservative than where you are right now then you can be pretty confident that you will not achieve the success you desire.

Question: What’s your Plan B? Will you fall back or fall forwards if this doesn’t work out how you planned? Please share your thoughts in comments section below.

This is a guest post by Andy Mort. Andy is a UK based musician and writer. He is the founder of SheepDressedLikeWolves.com, which is a Blog and Podcast aimed at encouraging HSPs and introverts to embrace their creativity and push against the expectations of an often overwhelming world. He has been described as having a “daring and innovative approach to creating and releasing modern music, which has proved him and his alter-ego Atlum Schema to be a bright beacon in the depths of British music today.” Find a link to his music through the blog.

By the way, I’m always looking for guest posters. If you would like to guest post, you can find the guidelines at An Invitation To Guest Post.

Opt In Image
Like what you just read?

Enter your email address below to receive updates on leadership and to receive a free eBook on leadership

  • http://pioneeroutfitters.com/AlaskaChickBlog/ Amber-Lee Dibble

    Great thought, Andy!
    Really. I have always sort of ignored “Plan B” and despise the phrase “Fall-back plan” because hey- I have worked hard to get here- I have absolutely no intention of going “back”. Yes, “ignored”, is what I said. Because in my own twistedly-simple mind- Plan A is the destination. It is a lot like climbing a mountain for Sheep. (I guide big game hunters and photographers- depending on what season it is.) You know where the sheep are- you saw them (usually) before you started to climb, planned your route, tied up your horses and set out to start climbing. Well. I have climbed some pretty crazy stuff. I have climbed and climbed through things that you knew as you pulled yourself up that there was no way it was going to be possible for you to go back the same way- not even considering the person you are leading will not be able to do it- only to find the final stretch blocked- you can’t go back- you can’t move forward- now what? Well, staying there hoping that Scotty will beep me and let me know he’ll beam us up- isn’t really an option, going back they way we came is not an option- it is my job to find a way. It is not Plan B. It is Plan A ~ the sheep. I have gone around and scaled ice, I have been boosted up and rigged ropes and a harness for those following- there is always a way. As the leader it is my job to #1- keep everyone with me safe- and #2 get the target. When you pull yourself out of the moment- it isn’t complicated, it is as you say- perserverence.

  • http://www.jonstallings.com/ Jon Stallings

    Great thoughts Andy. Too often our plan B (or c, d, e) tend to become an excuse to quit early. In stead of pressing forward we take the easy way out.

    At the church we have made the decision to sell our current building. We have no clue where or when we will be moving. Even though we are meeting a “for sale” building we are still doing outreach and starting new ministries. Forward is the only place we can go.

  • http://www.sieverkropp.com/ Mark Sieverkropp

    hmmm…what’s my “fall forward plan”? I don’t know. This was a total paradigm shift for me Andy! I think you’re right though, my Plan B certainly isn’t easier that “plan A”…it’s a reassessment and adjustment of plan A. It’s course correction as necessary when I hit a wall or fall on my face.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post!