Plan B is what happens when the plan doesn’t work out.
If our plans don’t materialize, we have our Plan B ready to go, our backup plan.
Plan B is for when things go awry or we don’t get the “yes” or we run out of funds in our bank account.
How will you survive? What will you do next?
Always think one step ahead, disaster awaits!
I gave a lot of thought to my Plan B when I left my corporate job to launch out on my own.
My Plan B included things like returning to the work I had done for more than 20 years, downsizing to reduce expenses, or getting an hourly job to pay the bills if my new line of work was not successful.
I’d see hiring signs at Whole Foods and think, OK, well, I could always do that…
Plan B was always on my mind, so much so that along with it, I added a Plan C, a Plan D, and a variety of other ways I would cope if I failed along the way.
Almost as if I was planning for failure.
Why do we plan for failure?
I didn’t give much thought to what would happen if I got all that I wanted and MORE.
If I achieved not only Plan A, but a type of Plan A++ I never even dared to dream about.
Was I prepared for it to all work out?
What if it all works out better than you could have imagined?
What if the conference that booked me to keynote also asked if I had a book I’d like to sell on-site? What if a speaker’s bureau called to express interest and asked to see my video marketing reel? What if, even without the coaching certificate I presumed I’d need, clients wanted to hire me for individual strategic coaching?
Would I be ready to respond?
Why had I not considered those possibilities?
It wasn’t for lack of confidence. Deep down I knew I have the resiliency and the work ethic to succeed. And yet, when I pictured the future, I planned for what could go wrong rather than what could go right.
I was already telling myself a cautionary story about how it would go.
And I know I’m not the only one.
Why do we do this?
Why do we plan for what might go wrong rather than what might go right?
When we give more thought to Plan B than to the possibility we may reach our Plan A, we hedge our bets that we’re going to need it.
We’re more likely to think we won’t get what we want than we will.
In a glass half-empty way, we claim to be preparing ourselves for the potential we’ll need this Plan B. It’s like we have an inner narrator always casting doubt.
Let me throw another option into the mix: What if you got so much MORE than you imagined, more than you ever thought possible? What if your original plan – that Plan A – actually yielded a plan A+? Or A+++?
What if your wildest dreams came true?
Picture this: You not only finish your first manuscript, but you also sell the book and get an advance for the next one. And an option for movie rights. Your company secures not only the funding it needs but a full-on buyer. One who wants to give you triple what you think it’s worth AND keep you on as Highly Paid Originator of Said Company. And, as your company succeeds, you get offers to return to a coveted corporate position. You are in control of your destiny with a multitude of appealing options.
Have you planned for any of those contingencies? Why not?
Our desire to protect ourselves, to plan for what happens when we DON’T get what we want may very well hold us back from considering what happens if we DO get it all. And then some.
Are you prepared for your new website to drive so much traffic that it crashes?
Are you prepared to meet orders tenfold of the number you anticipated?
Are you prepared to expand so rapidly that you need additional staff and resources to get as big as you are capable of becoming?
Are you prepared for the success and accompanying publicity and fame and fortune you so clearly deserve?
Maybe it won’t happen. Maybe we should stay realistic. Maybe we should pre-empt our success by filling out that application for that hourly wage at Whole Foods. There’s something nice and tidy about the thought of tidying up the produce shelves.
Or maybe we should plan for both sides of the coin – that fall-back Plan B and that amazing, too-good-to-be-true Plan A+++.
You won’t know what it looks like if you can’t envision it.
It could happen. Plan for it.
How about you? What are you planning for?
Valerie Gordon, a former award-winning television producer is the founder of career and communications firm The Storytelling Strategist. She offers keynote presentations, engaging workshops, and corporate training to help clients and audiences harness the power of story for greater impact and influence. She’s planning for A++ success and thinks everyone else should too.