Don’t Let Plan B Destroy Your Career
I am not sure whether this is coincidence or a trend, but lately I notice most of my clients have huge decisions to make at work and we always start with discussing plan B.
During everyone’s career advancement there has been risky choices. In fact, most of the people I know take more risky decisions than they realize every day. Some examples of those are:
- Whether to quit my job and start a business/get another job
- Whether to go this way or that way with my business
- Whether to say what I really think about this project/situation to my boss
- Whether to do the exception that this client asks for
Why are these decisions risky? Because you have something to lose, and in most cases it is something important too: money; respect; that client’s account. It is in such moments that professionals often draw plan B. I must say I support the need of plan B in general, as it often speeds the decision up and gives us the courage to challenge our fears. However, it can also translate into failure and there is a simple reason for that – focus.
I have already talked about focus and its power in many of my articles. In short, what you focus on is what you will get. Once you draw a plan B, you inevitably start looking out for signs that you need to execute it. By doing that you activate your natural survival instinct – must watch for X, because I must run if it happens. And suddenly, it’s all about X.
I have talked to many people so focused on their exit strategy, that they never created a success strategy. To understand whether that’s you, see if you agree with the statements bellow:
- I know what failure looks like, but I am not sure what success looks like
- I know what I would do if I get fired tomorrow (or my business goes bankrupt), but I have no idea what I would do if I get asked to be the director of the company (or a huge client hires me for a job)
- I know what I would do if I start running out of money, but I have no idea what I would do if I start making more than I expect (besides partying like a rock-star)
If you said “yes” to one or more of these statements, you need to switch from plan B thinking to success thinking now. In 1981 a female singer broke off her contract with Gotham – a small music agency, declining an offer from Columbia Records, because she thought she could do better. Wait, what was her name? Oh, right, Madonna. When you have success thinking, you are bravely going for what you want and nothing else will do. We will never know what Madonna’s plan B was and whether she had one at all, but I can guarantee she wasn’t focusing on what she would do if she was not to make it. I am not saying you have to oppose opportunities, but if you want similar focus and in return similar results, here’s how to get it.
Get the plan B out of your mind
There’s a saying where I come from: a stupid person will remember it, a smart person will write it down. You need to keep your mind free for big dreams and next steps to them, so put your plan B on paper. If your decision is a small one, you may think this is stupid, but it’s not. I used to work in sales. When I decided to make a risky move to sell something to a difficult client, I wrote on a post-it “If it doesn’t work out, call tomorrow and offer X.” And then I focused all I got on how to not call tomorrow. Want to guess if I hit my targets?
Funny anyone would give you that as an advice, isn’t it? But come to think about it, aren’t you obsessing over your plan B exactly because you are stressing about what would happen if things blow up in your face? We are taught that stress is all bad, but in healthy doses it could be a powerful tool, which controls your focus. Mentally put yourself in a situation where you suddenly reach HUGE success. What would you do? Are you ready for it? Can you handle it? Will you make the best of it? Wouldn’t you feel sorry all your life if you missed an amazing opportunity? You would, so make your plan A a priority.
Realize what is the only real benefit of plan B anyway
Plan B is rarely done to be followed. It is done to give you piece of mind and the confidence to follow your dreams. When you face difficulties, it is always tempting to use it, but plan B should only be used in one situation:
When you have NO other choice.
And I mean that! For example, if you feel slightly financially challenged because you quit to build a business, don’t go running for a new job right away. Read something useful, like Money Makeover Series: Money Plan=Life Plan or [amazon template=product&asin=1451629230] and get back to figuring out your success. When stressed out, you should be able to direct your focus towards what to fix in order to get what you want. Because if you don’t, you doom yourself to failure.
Have you ever chosen plan B when you could have adjusted plan A? Tell us bellow.
If you need help achieving an amazing career, check out my Career Grower Program.