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Be Prepared for Failure, Ready for Success

There are some people out there who say that if you have a Plan B, you’re already admitting to yourself that you have doubts about Plan A and you’re setting yourself up for failure.

I’m here to tell you, I think that’s crap.

As we continue to explore The Obstacle is the Way, I keep coming back to a section that really resonates with me. What happens after you’ve made all your plans, done all of your due diligence, turned obstacles into opportunities and all the rest? We’d like to think that this all means we’re going to succeed. But that’s not what happens, is it? Many times, we do all the right things, make all the right preparations, put everything in place…and it all blows up in our face.

What do most people do when this happens? Well, a lot of us fall into the complain, defer, give up trap, and those are usually the people who never came up with a Plan B. They spent so much time making sure Plan A went off smoothly that they didn’t take into account that there are just some things (in most cases, a LOT of things) we can’t control. We can’t control the weather, the economy, whether our car will start in the morning, or, most importantly, other people. So no matter how much work we put into our plan, it can be destroyed at the drop of a hat and through no fault of our own.

That sucks.

I get it. But since there is nothing we can do to control the uncontrollable, what can we do instead? We can focus on what is under our control, which is ourselves. Which means we need to stop burying our head in the sand, believing it's all going to work out, and start figuring out how we’ll alter our plans when they inevitably get messed up.

Let’s look at a scenario, and how it might look if we decided we’d created a perfect, foolproof plan:

You finally decide to start your workout program. You’ve accounted for the fact that you’re never motivated to work out in the afternoon, so you set your alarm 45 minutes earlier in the morning. You know you don’t want to wake up the kids, so you set up your mat and TV in the basement, where you won’t bother a soul. You’ve got your energy drink ready to go, your new outfit laid at the foot of the bed and explicit rules to your husband that you are not to be disturbed until 6 am. Your alarm goes off, you hop out of bed and rush downstairs—only to find out that turning on the TV blows a fuse and shuts off all the basement lights. Oh well, guess it’s back to bed.

This is a classic example of someone who failed to plan, so they planned to fail. Now imagine if this same person would have said, while strategizing the next morning’s workout, “What happens if for some reason I am not able to work out where I plan?” What if she had put out running shoes, a warm jacket and headphones to facilitate a 20-minute jog, just in case? Instead of ‘back to bed’, the reaction would have been, ‘onto Plan B’.

If you never take a look at a situation from all angles and not only see all the ways it could succeed (which of course you hope will happen), but also all the ways it could fail, you’ll never be able to take advantage of a situation. You’ll be at the mercy of fate, and let me tell you—fate is sometimes a very fickle beast.

When you’re developing contingency plans, you’re not showing doubt in yourself—you’re showing doubt in all of the uncontrollable circumstances that can have an impact. That’s not a lack of confidence, that’s practical and resourceful and helps you to be ready for whatever life throws at you.

I love figuring out how to turn seemingly negative events into positives, and I’m super excited about wrapping up our discussion of The Obstacle is the Way in my next post about how to release what you wanted to happen in situations where it just doesn’t. Hope you’ll join me!


Trish Cody has over 18 years of experience consulting with some of the world’s top Fortune 500 Companies. Today, as an ICF and iPEC Certified Coach and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, Trish works with clients to uncover their core values and beliefs, clearly see how they are showing up in their behaviors and impacting their success, and to shift their thinking to naturally attract positivity and success. For more information, visit

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