life

F*ck plan B

12:00:00 AM

Before I begin this reflection, allow me to acknowledge that I may be contradicting myself a lot as I go along. You see, I believe that we always have a choice and that we have more than two to choose from. When someone points a gun to your head, the choices aren’t just to do what he says or get shot in the head. You can fight back. You can talk him into sparing your life. You can scream for help. You can take his gun and use it against him. You can pull out a bigger gun or another weapon. There is always a choice.

But there are situations where having options, whether it’s one other or a wealth of them, actually does us more harm than good. 
No option to fail
(image from the internet)
A few weeks back, I was catching up with a friend I haven’t seen or talked to in a while. He started a business, one that’s deeply rooted in his passion, and it had a really rocky start. It didn’t do as well as he had hoped - they weren’t making money. Although things are slowly getting better now (he cut back on active delaying and actually did what was needed to make progress), something tells me he’s still not 100% positive about it. 

“This is my last hurrah in business, at least at this stage of my life. If it fails, I’ll go back to regular work first. But of course, it will be war before it reaches that point.”

That made me feel bad for the guy because I knew how much his business meant to him. But I don’t like pity parties, so I bluntly told him that he shouldn’t even have a Plan B (going back to regular work) that’s not for the business. His options should be (a) to succeed, or (b) to succeed, and anything else is unacceptable. 

When I jumped into freelancing a few years ago, there were a lot of times when I got tempted to go back to being an employee. There were extended dry periods when I didn’t know where I was going to find money to pay for rent and food and bills, and during those times, getting behind an office desk was extremely appealing: I’d get paid every 15th and 30th, I’d have health insurance I don’t have to pay the premiums for, and I’d have someone to do my taxes for me. That was my Plan B.

But I knew deep down that I wasn’t programmed to be in an office. I don’t like office politics. In addition, a corporate job requires a minimum level of presentability on the daily - and I’m often too lazy to even comb my hair. So I gave Plan B the middle finger once and for all. I unsubscribed to JobStreet alerts and I ignored any job offers that weren’t project-based. I focused on building my network, and I found ways to offer services to people (most I could do, others I have to outsource, and some I had to figure out with a little help from Google). 

To be clear, I am a very practical person and I appreciate that he’s being realistic - while nobody wants to fail, nobody wants to starve, either. In his case, however, having a Plan B works against him because he’s already giving failure room in his mind when all he needs to focus on for now is the success of the business. Ad man Leo Burnett said it best - you should always reach for the stars, because even when you don’t reach it, you won’t end up with a handful of mud. 

isawisay

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