My favorite part of reading case studies and interviewing entrepreneurs over the past couple of months has been hearing a number of stories with a recurring theme. In dozens of variations, the stories usually sound like this:
“I was down to my last $400 and simply had to make it work…”
“I gave up the option to take a reduced role at my job and just went full-tilt…”
“I didn’t know what I was doing, but I finally overcame everything I was stalling on and just started …”
Refusing the backup plan is a key theme of many successful entrepreneurs and other heroes. A good backup plan creates safety, security and a fall-back option—things you don’t want when you’re trying to change the world.
Will Smith put it like this: “Your Plan B interferes with Plan A.” I like that. Why not stick with Plan A?
The Pilot, The Plan
Turning down the safe advice (“be careful, take your time,” etc.) makes some people uncomfortable. When you proceed full-on with no backup, you might encounter questions or supposedly unassailable examples of why backup plans are necessary.
You’ll hear something like “Airplane pilots always have a Plan B,” as if it’s an open-and-shut case that you’re wrong to chart a course without considering the contingencies. And when you are presented with such logic, you are expected to say: “Oh, you’re right! It really is better to play it safe. Gosh.”
But hold on a minute. Personally, I want my pilot to safely land the damn plane. Assuming that’s Plan A, I’m happy to stick with it. Anything else doesn’t sound like a good plan to me.
We can change our tactics and maybe even our strategy, but let’s not change the goal. The goal is: be awesome. Change the world. Win. In short: Your backup plan is your plan.
Don’t get me wrong; I know that change is a scary thing, and I don’t think prudence is inherently bad. If you need to proceed with caution, proceed away.
But I also know that sometimes the fail-safe plan gives us a safe way out of what we really need to do. It holds us back from greatness. And if there’s anything we don’t want when attempting something truly important, it’s that. Full speed ahead!
So how about you over there… what’s your plan?