When Your ‘Back-up’ Plan Holds You Back!

29 Sep


A back-up plan (also known as Plan B) is a plan you intend to use if the main plan fails. It is a reserve; though never intended to be used, except in the event that ALL avenues of the original plan have been exhausted. The assumption is that the original plan is Plan A.

But what if you never really invested in Plan A? Because it was the “scary” option and you didn’t believe it was achievable. Most times our Plan A seems like the path with the most resistance and there aren’t many textbooks showing us how to get there. Everybody that took said route built the steps as they went along.

“Roads easily travelled offer no travail and therefore no real sense of achievement, because anything easily attained offers little value in return.”

So you pursue Plan B as the ‘safe and easier option’; the one that provides a deluded sense of security and stability. The one you can define and everybody can identify. Unknowingly, Plan B is a practical expectation imposed on you by society, family or cultural traditions. You do it simply because you can. It’s what you’re supposed to do. But if you had to choose ONE thing to do that you knew you couldn’t fail, that wouldn’t be it. Many of us know what we really want to do but don’t know how to go about it. Yet only a few are willing to voyage on that path of uncertainty to figure it out. So we run to the back-up, diminishing our potential for greatness, which comes from taking risks. In forsaking Plan A, Plan B will only rob you of your joy and fulfilment, though you wear the mask of contentment.


When I talk about an impeding back-up plan, I’m not referring to the plan you use to support or assist the main plan. Like the qualification you get, in the event you suffer a career-ending injury. Or the full time or part time job/internship you get to support yourself financially. It is a means to an end, so IT IS STILL PART OF THE MAIN PLAN. But if you stood at a neutral point, the distance between A and B would be exactly the same. And the more you followed B, the further it would take you from A. And if you ever decided to venture back to A, the journey would take you twice as long, sometimes even longer.

That is when your back-up plan holds you back.


An example of a ‘back-up’ plan that has the opposite effect (most times) is when two friends make an agreement, “If we’re not married by the time we are 30 (or 40) then we marry each other.” This pact is made as a last resort and deep down you’re hoping it doesn’t come to that. So you make every attempt to ensure you find the special person you genuinely want to be with. Your back-up plan motivates you to focus on Plan A, ensuring its success.

And if you do end up marrying that friend and you’re happy about it, chances are…

“You done been around the world,
And you’d seen a lot of peeps,
But, you ain’t neva seen a person look so fly like.”

It all works out!

So in the event that your back-up plan is holding you back, maybe it’s time to scrap Plan B altogether. How hard would you work if you knew that this was your only option? Because it is that necessity that builds greatness! By having no Plan B, you force yourself to give it your best, you find ways to make things happen and you do everything in your power to make it happen. Otherwise Plan B just causes you to settle, when fear kicks in and challenges obstruct. Sure, it appears ‘smart’ to have a back-up, but if being smart means staying safe, then being smart is stupid.

Don’t give into your fears and deny yourself the experience of facing them.

Don’t give into your fears and deny yourself the experience of facing them.

Wouldn’t you prefer to be happy working hard on something you love, than toiling with something you just tolerate? Either way you’re going to have to pay. Which option is worth the cost?

Stick to the plan; PLAN A

Stick to the plan; PLAN A

Ms Tola xx


One Response to “When Your ‘Back-up’ Plan Holds You Back!”

  1. Liliane G October 5, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Reading this has given me some food for thought. I like the idea that if we had no plan B, plan A wouldnt be plan A, but the only logical option. Interesting.


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