THE BLOG

Does a 'Plan B' Give You The Edge ?

10/09/2014 11:19 BST | Updated 09/11/2014 10:59 GMT

For many amongst us, choices are simple, straightforward and so are life objectives. To you guys I bow out as I'm probably one of the majority who struggle to make sense of why things don't turn out the way we want them to.

To get a clear picture of what we're referring to, it's about the paths that we choose to attain a given purpose. In fact, this sense of purpose would be the starting point for a career plan.

Broadening your horizons

When going for a particular job, most often if not always, the underlying purpose is finding fulfilment, financial independence and balancing work life with the rest (family, hobbies, passions, humanitarian causes, sports and so on).

However, how we actually act is the opposite - we focus on the job (by job title on top of that) or the company and forget about the rest.

So instead, when we take the time to step back, look at our real motives, we can easily see that there could be many options out there to satisfy our purpose. Moreover, by going for several other leads, what we can find out is that we will take a different angle on the problem with each person or challenge we meet. It will trigger in our minds a multitude of questions, of scenarios and that in itself will simply broaden the choices we had originally set ourselves.

Unveiling (unique) opportunities

This might sound too obvious to need saying, but the more you explore, the more you find a different way to think, to act, to see, to feel. In effect, this 'enhanced exposure' is doing us a big favour by creating new connections in our thoughts. Suddenly, that first job ad we saw and thought irrelevant becomes attractive - not because we read it too fast, but because we can now see it "fit" into our day to day routine and even project ourselves in it into the future. Not to forget the simple laws of statistics - the odds being the same, increasing the exposure would mean increasing the chances of a "hit".

Networking (formal and informal)

Partly a fruit of the above point, partly a fruit of 'good fortune' or chance if you want to call it that, but while seeking out new opportunities we obviously meet new people. The brilliant part about chance meetings is not the meeting itself, but the fact that we often meet with those who share either a similar background, or a similar ambition or both! A late starter in the art of networking myself, it can take time to see the benefits but when it does happen, it gives the impression of an opportunity just materialising from nowhere. Networking is for the long run and these like minded acquaintances will now open up to you their own network of people - friends, family, colleagues or neighbours and so forth. The tricky part is in being noticed and we would rather get noticed for our personality, charisma and achievements.

Gaining confidence

Going around the world, focused on your 'purpose' and doing things with 'intent' already portrays you as someone who is active, and whom others want to hang around with. Why is that ? because positive energy is simply contagious. And where does that positive energy come from? Easy, from all the three points mentioned above - you clearly know where you're going, you know your worth as you've exchanged business cards with peers just like you who made it to the top, and above all you simply know how to get to your goal. And that my friends, is confidence in a nutshell. Again I'm no relationship expert, but for sure when people feel attracted to each other, I think (& I'm making a huge assumption here!) but I really think confidence does have something to do with it.

Having more options that a single one is only but common sense resumed in the popular saying of "not putting all your eggs in one basket". In negotiation theory we'd call it a BATNA - best alternative to a negotiated agreement. It helps build confidence knowing there is a fall back plan. As opposed to such a moment we can probably all relate to when we felt vulnerable or desperate, that we had no choice and that any outcome depended solely on the good will of someone else.

Calling it a plan B, or an alternative, may sound negative for some and almost feel like cheating or being indecisive, even fickle. IMHO, it is in the way we approach the issue - isn't it in fact a way to hedge our risks? Isn't it a way to find out about ourselves? Isn't it a way to get out of our comfort zone and to grow? And would it seem so negative if we were open about our intentions.