I’m at one of my favorite places in the world this week, St. Augustine, Florida, and it looks like it’s going to rain ALL WEEK! I know, what you’re thinking. Eh, it’s Florida, the rain comes and goes…but if the weather folks are right, it’s not going to be a come and go rain week.
I’ve been here before when it rains every day for a week.
You can just hit the wrong week here every once in awhile. One year, we all just had to get in a tanning bed (I know it’s bad) for 15 minutes just to feel like we had some sun and go back north with a tiny tan.
So, in case it turns out to be one of those weeks, I’m already working on Plan B. But, this isn’t really about the weather.
Plan B is something beaten into my head from being a TV news reporter for 40 years. It’s good training for life. You better have plan B.
As a reporter, I liked to have a C and D plan too.
Every day, no matter what, I was working on a story or turning a story on deadline. Ready or not, the 4, 5 and 6 pm news is coming. I learned to be ready.
A hundred things could happen you can’t control: an interview subject backs out, the story you thought was there is not there, you can’t go live where you wanted because it’s pouring, the press conference doesn’t end on time or doesn’t happen at all, you’re stuck in traffic and can’t get to the scene of whatever disaster is happening.
Experienced reporters know, there’s always plan B. In the back of your head, there better be a plan B.
Not having a plan B is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute.
I try to teach my students at Temple Klein College of Media and Communication this lesson in my career counseling office.
“I’m going to be ________________. ” one of my awesome students says. (Fill in the blank) Talk show host, writer, producer, owner of my own company, graphic designer, copywriter, marketing guru, advertising genius, speech writer, reporter….
Great, let’s figure out how you’ll get there AND plan B.
“But, I know I’ll be successful as a _______. Why do I need Plan B?”
“Trust me. Everyone needs Plan B.”
Even when I was in college planning on being a news reporter, I knew I was a good waitress. In the back of my head, if things went horribly wrong, I knew I could pay the rent and put money in my pocket. It was my plan B.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in going after your passion and your dreams with your full heart and soul.
I’m not a dream killer. I’m a dream realist.
Sometimes, you have to work plan A and B at the same time until A materializes or you realize it was B or C all along.
“Do the New” is great training for plan B. When you do new things on a regular basis, you train your brain to become more agile, more flexible, more confident in your ability to change course and adapt, move in a new direction when needed instead of stubbornly staying the course even if plan A is just not working at all.
I learned this lesson the hard way one year before I went on my Year of Firsts journey.
I forgot, plan B. I liked plan A so much, I was so happy in plan A, when plan A went to hell, I was lost. I thought I didn’t need Plan B. Mistake.
So, back here in St. Augustine, where I might wish for beautiful sunny walks on the beach, I’m already embracing the idea of drizzle, overcast skies. (Plan B) It’s perfect writing and reflection weather.
(Plan C) I looked. I see the whole state of Florida is going to be rained on this week but 2 hours north on St. Simons Island looks nice if I need a break from gray skies. We’ll see.
And if the sun suddenly comes out? Back to Plan A.