The Case for Plan A


By Dawn Onley

All of my life, I’ve set up a Plan B. I have always prided myself on having something to fall back on.

More often than not, I worked my Plan A. But because even the best-laid plans can fail, I have relied on Plan B when it was advantageous to do so, or when I had exhausted all options for Plan A. Plan B has served me well as a security blanket.

Now, I’m starting to reconsider this approach.

Just as there’s a downside to being comfortable, I’m starting to see the disadvantages of setting up a Plan B. I’m on a path of blazing new trails and trying new things and I’m starting to realize that the problem with planning a contingency is your mind is already sort of set for failure.

I’m starting to think that there is a different type of hustle that comes out of us when there is no other way. When all of our eggs are in one basket. When we are singularly focused. When failure has more dire consequences. When we don’t have the luxury of losing.

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I’m starting to wonder what would happen if I went after Plan A with all of the energy, time, resources and focus that I can muster. What would happen if we all threw caution to the wind, in pursuit of our Plan As, and never looked back?

First, I feel I need to get something straight. I’m not advocating that we go without a plan, winging our destinies like my son wields his Captain America shield. We need directions and a map (ok, GPS) to get to an unfamiliar destination, so why would this be any different? Plans are essential.

This is also not to be confused with ditching our rainy day funds, or foregoing the need to make ends meet. It simply means that I believe there is a certain serendipity that is released when there is no other way. It’s what aspiring actors and musicians do when they pack their belongings and head to the big city. They may need to work a side gig to afford food and a place to stay, but that’s a small price to pay for realizing the dream. The Plan A.

It’s why we are here. It’s what we were born to do.

You have to do what feels right for you. All I know is playing it too safe will hinder your growth. When we play it safe for too long, we tend to get comfortable, and that’s not always a good thing (see why here:

One day you may wake up and ask yourself is this it? Is this the best that life has to offer?

It doesn’t have to be. God has a bigger plan for you and I – much bigger than we even have for ourselves. But what if we are required to step out on faith to receive it?

Plan A is risky. The chance of failure, greater. It’s a lot more work, no question.

But what’s riskier than not trying and never knowing whether you could have made a go with Plan A? What’s riskier to your general well being than settling?

“The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all,” according to Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister.

As a writer, I’m a chronicler of life. In this regard, there’s really no distinction between my personal and professional being. As a truth seeker and teller, it’s how I identify. Writers see the world in words, whether those words are ever captured on paper or not. It’s how we think. It’s who we are.

It’s our voice. Playing it too safe can drown it out.

Listen to your voice.

Then, soar.

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