You make a big and bold decision (Plan A), either professionally or personally. What are big and bold decisions! I define it as any choice that has less than 0.1% of success (as you assess it) when the decision is made.
Here are a few examples, Musk wanting to colonise Mars, Obama during his marijuana days telling himself he’d be the first black American president, Mark wanting to connect everyone in the world with each other, Honnold deciding to free solo climb El Capitan, and the list is endless. Big decisions are all or nothing ideas. I cannot imagine a version of Musk’s plan that is anything other than getting to Mars.
The people behind these ideas know that it is okay to fail, and more importantly, they know that to succeed, they must fail. They plan for failure. That is not the same as having a Plan B.
For bold ideas and decisions, you should NOT have a Plan B. The real problem with Plan B is that every second we think about Plan B, we take away precious resources from Plan A. It is akin to working towards Plan A to fail!
Why do we have a Plan B?
When we are faced with a threat (perceived or real), a little know part of our brain called the amygdala (see where the crosshairs point in the image to the right) assesses that threat and sends a message to activate flight, fight, or freeze response. If the threat has not been dealt with actively, we end up in flight mode. Plan B is our flight response.
The fear from the threat creeps up slowly and nudges you with seemingly innocuous questions like, do I have the skills to do this, will I have money to make this happen, am I built to do this. If they are not dealt with in a timely fashion, (1) your body will quickly be overwhelmed with anxiety and stress, or (2) you make Plan B that gets you to a safe place where you think you know and control everything. Ultimately, in both these scenarios, you will fail for reasons that had nothing to do with the merits of Plan A.
So my advice to people looking to quit develop Plan B, throw Plan B in the garbage bin and ask yourself what a threat you are facing is. Share that fear with colleagues, coaches, advisors, mentors, friends, and family. Allow the power of the network to help you fight your anxiety.
This article is transcribed from my end of the quarter address to my team today. We at K4Coach have a mission to democratise access to performance coaching to every human, so they “become their best”.
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