I was having tea with a friend today, who’s in the process of starting an exciting new business she’s really passionate about. During a discussion about marketing, customer acquisition and business models, we also talked about some old fears which were rearing their ugly heads. She’s entering into a higher risk situation (starting a business as opposed to being “securely” employed), and when you up the risk, your fears will often be activated more strongly. She was afraid that if her business failed, she might not be able to find a decent job in the current economy. My advice? First, stop listening to what the news and other people have to say about the economy and job situation. Focusing on the negative is only going to make it worse. And second, polish up your CV to get a sense of your market value and get an ego boost (sitting down and listing all of your accomplishments and reasons why you’re awesome can do wonders for your self-esteem.) What she needed was a backup plan.
Now, it might seem a bit counterintuitive from a Law of Attraction perspective, to be giving advice in favor of a Plan B. After all, the mere suggestion of one causes us to focus on the idea that Plan A might not work, something we don’t really want to give any energy to. And if the world was perfect and no one had any fears, I would completely agree with that. But we don’t live in a theoretical world; we live in a practical one and practically, we all have fears and limiting beliefs which can keep us up at night when we start to poke at them by doing such things as starting a business or taking the next step in a relationship. Our minds start to chatter LOUDLY with questions such as “What if it doesn’t work? Will I be doomed? Will I be homeless/penniless/alone for the rest of my life?” And while the theoretical LOA answer would be to just keep focusing on what you want and ignore the chatter, sometimes, when the fears are too big, that’s not possible.
When you have minor resistance, some limiting beliefs that twinge at you, it’s not that hard to train yourself into a new way of thinking. When I launched this site, for example, I had some fears that came up. I was afraid of making a fool of myself (put my writing out into cyberspace for all to see and criticize??), and of my friends and acquaintances not accepting the authentic me. But my fears weren’t debilitating and so I was able to just keep refocusing my thoughts on what I wanted – to make this information available to as many people as possible. The fears soon stopped. What I basically did was tell my chattering mind to shut up. Using a bit of discipline, I was able to notice when my thoughts strayed and bring them back to what I really wanted to think about: doing what felt really right to me.
But what if I’d had a fear of failure so great that my brain interpreted it as a real threat to my very existence? In that case, my mind would’ve been going 100 miles an hour every time I wasn’t too distracted by work. Simply telling my mind to shut it wouldn’t have done any good. And trying to wrestle your thoughts into a new direction when you’re in the grip of fear is nearly impossible. Fears aren’t rational or logical. You can’t reason with fear. You have to either get to the root of it and release it, or you have to find a work-around. Enter Plan B.
When you create a backup plan, you’re effectively making peace with your chattering mind. You’re helping to answer the question “What if something goes wrong?” If something goes wrong, you’ll just go to Plan B. Of course, you don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking about and giving energy to the possibility that Plan A won’t work, but if your fears are forcing you down that road, then you have to deal with it. Having a Plan B can actually make it possible to redirect your focus back to what you really want. It can quiet the scary voices in your head.
Make sure that your Plan B is something that makes you feel good. You shouldn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it, but when you do, it should feel like relief (from the fear). Choose a plan of action that’s completely possible, practical and safe. In my friend’s case, we listed all of the possible jobs she could get in the same field as the business she’s so passionately starting. That, along with an hour focused on how a potential employer might view her skill set, will help to quiet that chatter – it will help her to answer the question “What if my business fails”. We did not talk about her starting a different business, or moving to a different country. The first wouldn’t have been a safe option and the second wouldn’t be really possible in this case. These plans wouldn’t have brought her any relief. You can’t trick your mind, but you can make peace with it.
So, even though a Plan B does temporarily cause you to temporarily focus on the negative, sometimes it’s necessary in order to allow you to get on track to creating the reality you really want and get your mind to allow you to live your dreams.
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