It's Okay to be a Planner by Shawn Conrad, CAE
“There is no reason to have a Plan B because it distracts from Plan A.”
– Will Smith
While Will Smith could be correct, he obviously doesn’t adhere to Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Which is why people (like me) like having a Plan B. Those who typically have everything fall into place may think Murphy was a pessimist; others could say he was a realist. I simply like to know that if the original course of action does not pan out, I have other options.
I’m reminded of the movie “About Time,” which depicts a man who inherits from his father the supernatural ability to travel back in time at will, which he does often to correct mistakes—with some hilarious, as well as some deeply moving consequences. Some would call this a do-over. In golf it would be called a mulligan. If you weren’t successful the first time, you got a second chance. It might work in the make-believe of movies, but in real life we need a Plan B.
I like having options, and a Plan B, or C, or D for that matter, gives you options. The sooner you can correct a misstep, the better your chances of reaching your desired outcome will be.
Back in college, my brother and I were confronted with a rather large red oak tree that was diseased and, much to our displeasure, leaning toward our house. Plan A was to make a perfect notch in the tree with the chain saw to direct it to where we wanted it to land. Plan B was to string a number of ropes to the tree so that if things went astray, the ropes would keep the tree from hitting the house. I’m retelling this story, so it must have ended well, right? It did.
If you subscribe to Will Smith’s quote, there is no other choice but to succeed. Because I am an advocate for options, I feel best when I plan for Murphy’s Law. In the case of the 100-foot red oak, I also had a Plan C. I made sure everyone was out of the house.