The problem with plan B

The problem with plan B is that it gives you an out. It steals energy from plan A and creates even the finest sliver of doubt. Here is what I’ve learned, I don’t need to have a plan B because if plan A doesn’t work out, whatever should be will be and it does not require my input.

I told the Chair that it is time to make a 12 month timeline. Because quite literally a year from right now my entire dissertation needs to be done, at least the full first draft. And as I shared with Nicki this thoughtfulness in planning I also said, “I don’t want to get to next February, freak out and start applying to admin or full time faculty jobs.” She said, “well how do you feel about plan Bs?” I said, ” I don’t believe in them.” It was an affirmation to myself that it’s not the second plan I don’t believe in, but it’s the doubting myself I don’t care for.

I pursue my dreams almost single mindedly. There was never a thought that I wouldn’t get into ANY PhD program and would have to take a job. There was never a thought that I would not be able to complete my program. I have been called stubborn to the point of arrogant and I don’t care how people dress it up in their minds, for me it is the absolute belief that I’ve created these goals in alignment with my purpose and path and therefore they are infallible.

Yet fear can produce so many things…so-called safety nets. Will I ever learn to trust my wings if I know there is a safety net? “But that’s the way some people learn to fly is by knowing they won’t fall…” Yes. But that belief is not tied to that safety net, and that belief is what will save your life. Think of the time and energy you save by skipping the fallacy and just believing. Why, in our society, do we need to have plan B or C or even D? Have we become so disconnected from our Self and each other that we cannot bare a single moment of unknown of true faith?

I do not want to live like that. I am making a conscious effort to live another way. I have to remember that not everyone shares your vision. The steps I need to take are mine and mine alone, no one can take them for me and call back to say “it’s safe come on!”

Certain things keep replaying over and over for me. This idea of bigness. That my life is about to become as large as I always knew it would be. This idea of centeredness. This idea of sharing. This idea of surrounding myself with uplifting people who force me to grow. And this idea of solitude. Not loneliness, it is not about being in this space alone but being in this space as myself, as Jessica. I will need to reside there as me knowing that even in my solitude I am never alone. It’s a calling right now, really, to be both and. Both individual me and collective we at the very same time. And according to everything I’ve read, most people do not “get there” to this place. But that is where I am being pulled. And not just me I think it is where many are pulled but it is a difficult space to sustain. The shadow of one side feels incredibly isolating because here you are on display because of this amazing wonderful huge gift you share with the world that no one else can offer like you can. And no one understands what that is like but you. You’re completely alone in your being. Yet, the shadow of the other side is that you are nothing special. Everyone has in the the capacity for greatness and your secret is that you understand that fully. So why is it that you are such a big deal?

Today Liz (can we just pause and laugh because I referred to my favorite author, Elizabeth Gilbert, as simply “Liz” as if we are casually acquainted? Foreshadowing. One day we will be.) posted on her Facebook about shame she wrote:


And it’s true. The world does not need our shame. Nor our doubts. It is why the universe conspires on our behalf, because the success of this world–even bigger than the physical manifestation of the world–depends on the success of the individuals who comprise it. I need each of my individual cells to work properly to make my body successful run, the world is no different.

I suppose today I woke up feeling inspired. Inspired and empowered, like my being here is not a mistake and in fact my being here is supremely important. So that I need to be me at any and all costs, that’s how important my role is here in this world. And I believe that about myself. I also believe it about everyone else in this world. I just…I just need to figure out how to tell everyone and get them to believe it. I|We could change the world if we understood the capacity we really have to do so by changing ourselves.

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