Having a Plan “B” doesn't suggest creating an alternate goal. You might, but that's not my focus here. Your goal, whether personal or professional, provides the vision of where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. It's reaching that goal that often requires re-routing our original approach (aka Plan “A”).
At the beginning of a journey, it's impossible to anticipate all of the detours we might encounter or other roadblocks along the intended path. When they arise, however, it's immensely helpful to have an approach in mind that will enable you to change direction, yet keep moving generally in the direction of your goal. Effective business strategy requires more than one narrow path to follow.
When it comes to most journeys in our lives and business, the alternate routes are often in unmapped territory. It can feel more like the “Lewis and Clark” expedition to find a route to the Pacific Northwest; they literally had to create their own map along the way! Fortunate for us, there are many resources available to help us achieve our goals, using the wisdom and knowledge of those who came before us and those who walk with us today. To unlock that value, however, requires a conscious effort to reroute when necessary
Plan “B” is always a moment away; in fact, some of those alternate routes on a road less traveled become the most enjoyable parts of the trip. You may see and experience things you wouldn’t even know existed without the detour.
I keep a favorite photo of a sailboat on my desk to remind me of this lesson every day when I walk into my office; it faces guests seated in the chairs across from my desk. The caption reads:
“CHART YOUR COURSE. Our destiny is shaped by our thoughts and actions. We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”
The nature of sailing harnesses energy from nature to make progress and continually requires active anticipation and mental adjustment; I think that's what I enjoy so much about it. Some adjustments are slight, yet others represent significant shifts to make progress against the wind. There is always a need for Plan “B” just ahead and you've got to be ready to activate it at a moment’s notice.
Set your course, make your plans, and enjoy the journey!