Saturday, May 1, 2010

No Backup Plans Allowed!

This topic has been discussed with me at least 10 times this week, mostly from parents about their kids who are attempting to "take their game to the next level." As parents, their instincts scream safety and careful for their children's future... even though they're supporting their long term goals and motivations.

"Have a backup plan... just in case."

This subject is a fun one to talk about because not having a backup plan is counterintuitive, yet absolutely essential for long term success. Plan B is a safety net, positioned to catch us when we fall... but we shouldn't be focusing on falling. Instead, only concentrating on what we're going to feel like when we achieve. This is very difficult for many - our society is all about safe, rather than risk. To not have a backup plan is scary, but it also can make us push further and harder than we would if we knew a net was below. It's amazing what our survival instincts can do when pushed to the limit.

Backup plans allow us to fail - give us permission to quit, even if it's only subconscious. I know what you parents are thinking: 

"I don't want my baby to be out there without something to catch her when she falls..." 

When we talk to our kids this way, we're telling them that they're probably going to fall. Rather, if we always said "go for it, take risks, and figure out what to do if things don't go your way..." think about how strong they'd become. How brave would they live their lives? I understand how difficult it is to talk to them this way - our instincts are all about protecting them from harm. We have to learn to let go of our fear. That's really what it is... fear that they'll fail. They know we feel this way. They know, when we talk to them about a backup plan, we're focusing on their potential failure. This can be very damaging to their confidence and long term potential. Let's show them how much we believe in them... how strong we feel that they can achieve anything with concentrated hard work.

If you're not a parent, but instead want to take yourself to another level, stay away from Plan B. Make a detailed, emotional, committed Plan A... and go full steam ahead, without looking back. Having a backup plan for yourself will only hold you back from reaching as far as your potential can stretch. Unconsciously, you'll know that it'll be o.k. to stop, due to the huge air bag beneath. Believe you absolutely WILL achieve your goals. If you know it's going to happen, why would you ever need a backup plan? 

This is a mindset change, which means it'll take a lot of practice to accomplish such a switch. We've all been conditioned to play it safe, take the easier route, look both ways. It's been pounded into our heads from a very early age, so in order to unlink this thinking, we need to make a conscious decision to create that new way of thinking. 

Whenever we feel the need to hang a safety net below, let's dare ourselves to do without. Focus all of our attention on what we want, how we're going to get there, knowing we will grab ahold!


Sarah said...

It's a very scary concept, but it's probably a necessary push we need ever so often.

俊琴 said...


Mr.Poo said...

I love the photo :)

But, will the crowd follow the guy climbing up the wall?

Will they catch him when he is falling down?

And, I don´t like Spiderman´s new haircut.

Matty said...

I didn't think of it like this. But you're right, a backup plan suggests you might fail.

Dayne Gingrich said...

matty... you probably have a difficult time seeing this way because you're a dad and g-pa. Gotta protect the youngens ;-)

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