Does Having a Backup Plan Make You More Likely to Fail?



Stop doing shit you hate.

This is something I am quoted on a lot. And I mean it, I really do. I tell people to aim for what they really want to, to cash in on their passion, and put in the work to be great.

But with that mindset of course comes a lot of follow up questions. “How do you know when to give up on an idea” is one I have written about in the past. Betting on strengths. Knowing when to delegate. But something I haven’t really addressed? The backup plan. Do you have one? How solid should it be?

If you have one, does that mean you’re just expecting your Plan A to fail?

With how intensely I go “all in” on dreams and aspirations, you might expect my answer to be: “Yes. A Plan B shouldn’t even be considered!”

But you’d be wrong.

In fact, I’ve always had a plan B. To be fair, my plan B involves going to garage sales and buying stuff then selling them on eBay for more, but it’s still a backup plan I think about. It’s scrappy. It’s a big step down. It’s not much. But it’s a plan, and I keep it in mind.

My belief ultimately is this: you should have a hardcore, extremely thought out plan A alongside a deeply practical plan B. And more importantly: you should get comfortable with everything that comes with that plan B. Maybe you have to take a boring day job. Maybe you have to move in with the parents. And that’s okay. That’s kinda the point of a backup plan, right? That it isn’t all perfect.

You don’t have to go into your plan A with blind faith.

So, have that backup plan. But never let it take the wheel. The moment it does that, it becomes plan A. Having a backup plan doesn’t mean you will fail. But focusing on it too much? Bad idea. For example, if I had to break down the energy I have (and the energy I’ve observed from other successful people) between two plans, it’s something like 97% plan A, 3% plan B.

A lot of people who fall short might be in the 50/50 category, or even 75/25. If there is too much focus on the backup plan, you’re already putting out the energy of failure before you’ve even started.


Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Scott Maxwell

About the author: Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is the CEO and founder of Vaynermedia, one of the world’s fastest growing digital agencies. He’s also a serial entrepreneur, 3-time New York Times Bestselling Author, partner at venture capital fund VaynerRSE, and was named to both Crain’s and Fortune’s 40 Under 40 lists.
For more by entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, check out his new book #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, & Self-Awareness and visit GaryVaynerchuk.com.

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