Always have a Backup Plan – But Not Too Many!

You know the biggest mistake villains seem to always make? They never have a plan B in life.

The common bad-guy puts all of his eggs into one basket, then some goodie-to-shoe comes over and knocks over the whole thing! What does the villain do? Cry and cry until he dies or goes to jail. Although those are just fiction stories they do deliver a lesson: be smarter than the average villain, always have a plan B in life.

Throughout my life I have always had a big dream, an end goal for my legacy before I die, now how I get to that point is a mystery. That is why I always am coming up with ideas for how to achieve this dream. Along the way many of them failed, evolved, or (on the off chance) succeeded so then I could focus on the next step. But my point is that as the world reacts to your actions you must have a plan B (and if you can a C never hurts).

So for example, lets say you want to become a Digital Artist for a gaming company, then when you begin to look at how to achieve that goal, you should also be thinking, “What if this doesn’t end up being what I want? What if in 2 years I want to change my mind? Or what if the market chances and it becomes a struggle to get this job, what do I do then?” With this thinking process in the back of your mind, you should keep an open door for alternative paths, say that during college you meet someone who wants to give you an internship…as a secretary at his gaming company! Not exactly your dream job, but you say, “Thank you for the offer. I would be happy to. But just to be clear, when I am done with college I would like to try to start as a Digital Artist as that is what I am studying.” And he would probably say, “I completely understand! That is why I want to give you this job, so to get your foot in the door and meet our artist department.”

Now even if you don’t get to work for them as a digital artist in the future, you will at least be able to put down that company as someone you did work for, and it might evolve into working for a different company at a job more suited to what you are wanting. Or if the market is bad (like it is today), then it will mature into a really good full playing job. This makes it an excellent plan B.

A year ago I left my retail job of 8 or so years to work for a great paying job where the President of the company knew me very well. I could have dropped my retail job all together, but I really enjoyed it, respected the owner of the company, and wanted to keep doors open. So for the following year I worked for both companies, the retail job was a good Plan B should my new job not work out. After a year of trying to adjust and listening to many different advices from non-bias sources, I decided to leave that job and go back to my first job. My pay at the small business is 2/3rd of that great paying job (and soon to be 1/3rd after Christmas), but my job description was upgraded to Business Consultant; a dream position to me. I might be eating ramen noodles instead of steak every night, but at least I’m much happier. I was glad to have that Plan B.

And even now I have more plans in the works to keep my income up, but I cannot rest with just one, so I have several of them. Now the down side to having back-up plans is you end up with too many options! It is like trying to spin plates. The more plats you have, the more impressive you are to people but the harder it is to keep them all spinning. It makes for very little free time and everyday you end up exhausted even if you didn’t really do much. This is a tough lesson I’m learning right now myself.

Solution? Restrain yourself to only having so many projects, then zoom in and focus on those projects. When new opportunities come along, weigh it not based on itself but based on how it compares to your current projects. If you are like me you will see the potential in many many things which makes you want to pursue every idea out there. Do that and you will fail at all your projects (they will never get done).

Last thing I would say is stay realistic to what you can and cannot do, you are not superman, but you still have talents. Find them, focus on them, and stay organized.

Till next time!

-King Steven

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