Plan B. There is a comfort in knowing you have an option to fall back on—just in case you change your mind. Having a Plan B sounds good in theory, as a working artist. It sounds smart—the type of action taken by someone who has considered all the contingencies and weighed the pros and cons. But in securing a Plan B, does that negate the strength and viability of your Plan A? Is your need for a Plan B already an admittance of failure? Conversely, how do you know if your Plan A is worthy of further investment?
The legitimacy and lifespan of a Plan A can usually be determined in the why behind it. Who is your Plan A serving? Is it principally serving your need for validation and importance, or is it serving the needs of others? Granted, not every creative “calling-to-action” requires a hands-on approach of artistic servitude via fields such as occupational or music therapy. Sometimes the world just needs a beautiful song to unite and humanize the faces we encounter, or a hard laugh to counter the harshness of the day—A unique story or point of escape to mentally staycation in, or a form of art or edutainment to enlighten and uplift.
Sometimes, despite careful and objective examination, life has a way of diverting your plans through constructive destruction of your goals, to maximize your potential towards the discovery and highest expression of your gifts. Last week, Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) shared the story of his career on IG, recounting his Plan A of playing in the NFL, only to have his career ending at the start. In retrospect, would he have been able to positively affect as many people as he has through a career in the NFL? Would he have been allowed or been able to discover his underlying gifts and talents via that career path? Would he be living a life of significance serving others through entertainment, or would only his immediate needs have been met? From the outside looking in, a career in the NFL may have resulted in an empty victory down the line, personally and professionally.
Sometimes, your Plan A will require working a day job in between career opportunities, which is never a sign of failure, and should never be regarded as such—as witnessed in this week’s coverage of actor Geoffrey Owens, primarily know for his role as Elvin Tibideaux on The Cosby Show. If anything, it is a strong sign of faith that signals your belief in your gift—that your gift is valuable and worthy of a lifestyle of self-sacrifice and self-denial. The hustle of a day job also proves beneficial in the development towards a mindset of resourcefulness. Over time, through trial and exploration, learning to spot and develop the recommended seven streams of income can serve as an aqueduct towards the financial reservoir needed to support your career and lifestyle.
As you walk out the refinement and realization of your Plan A, be kind to yourself. You may have moments of distress, facing a lineup of odds forming against you. It is absolutely normal to panic or have momentary freak outs, but the key to overcoming the odds is in showing up in confidence and working your gift in faith, despite the voice of defeat that you hear. The same voice of defeat that is threatening you, telling you to surrender and quit; that you are not good enough to make it full-time; that you’ll never survive the road ahead; that there’s no help on the horizon; that you’ll never be successful; that you are alone and are going to fail—will also promise you a life of contentment in settling for seconds, all in the same sentence. How can a life of contentment result from caving into a threat?
At other times, we intuitively know what our Plan A is, but we decline the road ahead out of pride or fear of the unknown. Sometimes the silence encountered in the pursuit of calling is a test to reveal the quality of your heart and intent, through your actions and decisions. In those instances, when every door has closed and you’re winded from walking in circles, something simple as putting your fears on paper along with a simple prayer of transparency and truth are helpful in releasing yourself from your emotions and taking new action. Be honest about your fears and desires, no matter how ugly or superficial. Be open to criticism and redirection. Humble yourself and allow yourself to become open to change and imagination. In moments of transparency, prayers are always received and answers arrive.
The human mind is limited. In most cases, our conception of a Plan A is only a blueprint to the realization of our true creative purpose. Ultimately, the fulfillment of that purpose will always require and encourage adaptability and growth, and will not allow for typecasting. Be patient. Be responsible. Be humble. Be flexible. Be accountable.
Life is about choices. When walking by faith, there is no Plan B.