I have stated before that I think that in general you shouldn’t have a plan B. That you should burn the bridge behind you and focus entirely on what is in front of you. That you should have singleness of purpose and that a plan B often ensures that your plan A is never carried out to completion and that you never stick with it long enough to see it through to the end. Hence why I often advise against having a plan B now with that being said this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of other options or stick your head in a hole.
You still need to be aware of what you would do should plan A prove to be untenable. So there is an exercise that I recommend you do that will expand your mind as well as help you grow laterally. Meaning it’ll make you think in ways that you haven’t thought before. This will open up new paths and options before you that you may have not noticed and would have never thought of before. This exercise forces you to use your brain in new ways to come up with new ideas and can be used for business, life, or anything else.
The “Plan B” Exercise
We’ll use business as an example but remember this exercise can be used for a variety of different fields. So let’s say that right now you have a business in the personal training industry and make the majority of your money through clients that you personally train. Now let’s say some tragedy strikes or the economy collapses or any number of things that cause consumers to have a tighter grip on their wallet transpires. And let’s say overnight that ninety percent of your clients cancel and aren’t coming back.
What do you do? What would you do? Have you ever thought about that before? What are your options? Do you have anything to fall back on? Now you’re addressing problems that you had never thought about before. Perhaps you think “Pfft that’d never happen to me” alright great but nevertheless it’s better to be prepared then left with your ass hanging out in the wind. If what you are relying on was ripped out from under you what would you do? What could you do?
Think About It
“If X transpired what would I do?”. Unfortunate things happen all of the time and bad things happen to good people at a seemingly ever increasing rate. If your boss decided on a whim he was going to fire you what would you do? If your part of the country suddenly became unlivable what would you do? This exercise naturally lends itself to business and money but it’s utility doesn’t stop there. It can also be used for relationships as well as survival type scenarios. What if you’re wife decided she wanted to divorce you and take the kids? What if the city you lived in had a massive riot and you were a target? What would you do?
Being aware that something can happen is a good first step to not being screwed over by it. And thinking about what you would do in response to it is even better. You don’t want to get caught off guard. Everything could be going well in your business or life and one event could completely change things for good. What if your spouse died what would you and the kids do? These things might not be pleasant to think about but they still need to be taken into consideration.
Proactive vs. Reactive
When it comes to surviving and thriving you always want to be proactive and not reactive. The proactive rise to meet the challenges of life the reactive wait to get struck first before they start fighting back. And if you’ve seen any number of fights you know that a good portion of them are decided with that first strike. Having a plan B allows you to have a plan for when things don’t go as you think they will. This doesn’t mean that you try to chase two rabbits which will never work just that you understand that what you’re doing may not work or may backfire and you’re prepared for that.
Always be prepared and always be ready to meet the next challenge. Some parts of the plan B exercise may be smart to go through with your family as well. What to do if X happens. Remember this exercise is all about ‘What would I do if X happened”. Take something you rely on and imagine if it was ripped away from you. How would you react? Again the point isn’t to get paranoid or to chase two plans at once. Just be ready in case something collapses under you.
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