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)?”
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.