Conventional wisdom states that it’s always wise to have a Plan B, C and maybe even D when setting goals. If Plan A doesn’t work, then you surely need something to fall back on, right? It makes sense, but what if the mere existence of those extra plans are holding you back from the business success you could be achieving?
* When I had my oldest daughter as a freshman in college, my goal was to graduate in four years no matter what. There were times when I was dead tired, but I still studied. There were moments when it would be have been more fun to hang out with my friends, but I bonded with my daughter instead. Sure, I could have chosen to go to a less rigorous school or take my time and attempt to graduate in 5 years, but I did not give myself the option. Not only did I graduate in four years, but I graduated with honors. My little one was in the audience to help me celebrate.
* After I left my first job after college, my goal was to launch my own business by January 1st of the following year. After my potential partners decided to pursue other interests, I could have changed my mind and gotten a “regular job.” I could have tried to go back to the job I left (inconsistent pay would be better than no pay), but I didn’t. I told myself that this company was launching 1/1, even if I did it as a solopreneur, and it did.
* When I started business school, my goal was to keep my oldest daughter’s life as consistent as possible, so I kept her enrolled in the same school, which was a few neighborhoods away. Because of the lottery system, I wasn’t able to choose a closer school until my second year of business school, so we made it work. My grandparents and I had a system where I would take my daughter to school in the morning, and they would bring her back home in the afternoon. My neighborhood was not parking-friendly, so I didn’t have a car. Five days a week, our mornings went like this: catch the train with my daughter, walk her to school, catch the train back to my school, go to class and then get on with my day. If we missed the train, taking her to school meant taking two buses, a different train and walking, all before I made my trip back to be on time for my own classes. It was hard, but I did it. Yes, I could have let her live with my grandparents to make it easier, but it was important for us to be together. She’s almost 18 now and still smiles about our train adventures.
These are only a few of my Plan A or nothing stories. I can reflect on them with fondness now, but these were not easy periods of life. At times, it was quite uncomfortable. Imagine studying for finals with a newborn in tow or taking the train in Chicago’s subzero temperatures…not fun. If you look back over your life, I’m sure you’ll find periods where you also incessantly pursued a goal and achieved it, even when circumstances were not ideal.
So What’s the Problem with Having a Plan B?
When you know you have a fallback plan, projects related to your purpose can fall to the wayside.When you know you have a fallback plan, projects related to your purpose can fall to the wayside. Click To Tweet
I’m not talking about the work you do to keep the lights on. I’m talking about the work you know you were called to do, those teachings that will really make a difference once you share them with the world. You know, the things you’ve been meaning to get to …one day.
I’m not saying that you should go into your job Monday morning and resign or that you should burn every bridge you’ve got. That’s not responsible, especially if others are relying on you for support. No, what I’m saying is to set your mind on that one goal that will make the most to your life and business right now and then work as hard as you can to achieve it.
Over the years, I found myself adding more responsibilities to my life and even ended up marrying someone who is the king of back up plans. My husband not only has Plans B, C and D drafted, but he’ll run down Plans E through G if you ask him. 🙂 While this was great for managing our everyday life, it did cause me to put some of my “one day” goals off in favor of working on what was right in front of me. Here’s how. My goal is to finish a book I’ve been working on about finding your purpose and turning it into a profitable business. It takes the methods I use with my clients, in my podcasts and in my blog posts and condenses them into an interactive workbook. Sounds great, right? Well, the problem is that I’ve been working on it for years! Why? Well, we’ve been blessed to have multiple streams of income, and it is often easier to work on a stream with concrete deadlines than a passion project where the deadline is one I have to create. Even though I’ve gotten great reviews from people who have read excerpts, I still haven’t finished it. Again, given a choice, most people choose to work on projects with deadlines they can see.
Making Plan A Your Main Goal
I had to make finishing this book a real priority. I’ve set aside at least 3 times a week to write, even if it means being awake while the rest of my family is asleep or foregoing other activities. Yes, I’ll have other things that I’ll need to work on, too, but I have to treat this book as something important. Remember, attaining a goal is not always going to be comfortable, but it’ll be worth it.
To get you started on the path to achieving your goal, I want you to complete the following exercise.
1. What is one goal you want to achieve that will really make you happy if you achieve it? This doesn’t have to be some big, profound thing, but it might be. Don’t censor yourself. Write that goal down.
2. Why haven’t you accomplished it yet? This is time for you to get real with yourself. Were you scared of the outcome? Did you talk yourself out of it? Did you get so comfortable in your current lifestyle that you just didn’t feel like it?
3. What’s your plan to transform that goal from something you want to do into something you did and feel good about? There’s no magic formula here. You’ve got to put in the time. How are you going to do it?
This isn’t a journey you have to take alone. If you need help working through the questions or even setting that big goal, I’m here for you. Contact me for a free, 30 minute consultation to see how best we can work together.
Let this year be the one you stop putting off your dreams and start living them, Plan A or nothing!