Backup Plans vs Options

I tell young people not to let options blind them to opportunities. But options are not a bad thing in themselves. In same cases, they are better than concrete opportunities.

When you jump on an opportunity, you want to go all in and ‘burn the ships’ as it were. This means you don’t have a backup plan. If you have a backup plan, you’re not all-in and it will be harder to get through the rough patches and succeed. Necessity is the mother of invention.

But not having a backup plan doesn’t have to mean you will be ruined if the opportunity ends. If you continue to pursue opportunities with abandon as they come, you will develop skills, knowledge, and relationships. Those are pregnant with potential opportunities – options – that can emerge on their own or be cultivated at any time.

If what I’m currently doing comes to an end, I never have a clear backup plan. But the longer I go in my career, the more I know I have options. There are plenty of things hiding in my orbit, and if it becomes necessary, I’ll find or create one. Or one will find me, as is more often the case.