A lot of time, Plan B is often confused with an alternate or completely different approach. It need not necessarily be a replacement or an alternative but an addition or an expansion. It is the extension of current process and opinions. Many of us would agree that it’s always wise to have a backup plan. Events never unfold exactly as expected so it’s probably sensible to prepare for emergencies.
Having multiple plans in your back pocket is advantageous for many reasons. One key reason is that multiple potential plans expands your imagination of the future and can even help you cope with the idea that your dream plan may not work out.
Having a plan B doesn’t mean you’re willing to give up; it means you are smart, strategic and relentless which are the great qualities of an entrepreneur. Also, for some at one level, life turns out to have made a few other plans. And so, promptly, we find we have to give up on plan A altogether.
The realization can feel devastating. Sobbing or terrified, we wonder how things could have turned out this way. It is for such moments that we should, even when things appear calm and hopeful, consider developing a plan B. No one gets through life with their entire careful plan. One door may close, but there are truly many other entrances to try.
But, there’s a but…..
Just thinking about your backup plan reduces your chance for success. Once you have created a backup plan, try to put it out of your mind. Research has shown that making a backup plan can indeed have harmful effects on goal pursuit.
For instance, you are looking for a new job and have just been to interview for the most ideal position you can ever imagine. Or maybe you are desperately in need of any job and you’ve gotten your first response to the many applications you’ve submitted. Then you remember the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, so you tell yourself, ‘’It’s OK if this job doesn’t come through, just going to an interview is good practice for the next on. You might also think, “There are openings coming up at other places everyday”. But feeling indifferent about achieving a goal or having well developed alternative plans can also potentially jinx your chances of success.
Life isn’t a dress rehearsal according to Shin and Milkman suggests that we need to focus on getting things right at the first moment we step on stage. If you walk into any situation doubting the success or achievement from that outcome, you’ve already begun to sabotage the outcome. Franklin Roosevolt told us that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, but creating a backup plan is an evidence that the fear of failure is present. When we allow fear to creep in, we give away our sense of control and self-confidence. Once you become afraid of failure or success, your resolve is compromised. Truly doing your best even if it’s not enough is one of the most gratifying experiences possible. A successful outcome occurs when you plan for success, so focus your energy on achieving plan A and give it your best shot.
Now, Plan B or Not?
Writer: Anu Joseph