Have a Backup Plan

Have you ever seen those Worst Case Scenario… books that tell you what to do if, say, the boat you’re on capsizes or your wallet is stolen while in a foreign country? While those instances may be extreme cases, how would you handle your situation if everything was going along swimmingly and suddenly you’re hit with the emotional whiplash of a pink slip at work or an unexpected illness?

Do you have a Plan B? No! Well, you should. At the very least, give some thought to how you would cope if you suddenly discovered that your world is spinning on a different axis.

Take your work situation, for example. Especially in these hard economic times, none of us are immune from downsizing. So you should have one eye on other job opportunities and keep your resume updated. Furthermore, you must find time to network. Attend as many functions as possible and volunteer for committees that keep you in touch with your colleagues and people in a position to hire you. The upside? You meet new people and, therefore, widen your scope. Furthermore, you may wind up volunteering for something truly fulfilling that will give you a feeling of optimism and hope when you need it the most.

To be prepared, start by examining these three scenarios: 

1. Starting over
Another upside to job loss (if you’re being particularly optimistic) is the possibility of moving elsewhere and starting over. Were you really that happy in your present job? Are you fulfilled living where you do? Maybe you need to move to meet your true soulmate. Think of it as an adventure… an opportunity to start over again, meet new people, discover new territory, or possibly adopt an entirely different lifestyle if you’re going from an urban situation to a more rural or suburban one – or visa versa. Use this as a time to reinvent yourself.

2. Positive results
On the home front, if you suddenly develop an illness, you must be aggressive in fighting it. So what if you’ve always been the healthiest of all of your friends – the one who exercises and eats balanced meals and gets enough bed rest? Your body has a foreign intruder and you must expel it by concentrating on what will make it well. So your plan B is to cancel any unnecessary chores or functions and rise above your ego to allow your friends and family to help you (you’ll need someone to bring you to doctors appointments, cook for you, clean and bring you amusing books and DVDs to keep you occupied). Find a way to make lemons out of lemonade. You may wind up becoming an advocate for patient’s rights… or going into a medical career as a result of your experience. What a great way to beat a bad situation with a positive outcome!

3. Watch what happens
Sometimes, however, your back-up plan is to have no back-up plan at all. If you’re driving in an unfamiliar area and you get lost, is it a calamity or an opportunity for adventure? Sometimes life is that way – the unexpected happens and you are left either twisting in the wind, prepared with a second option, or open to the possibilities. Just remember, it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you look at it.

It’s up to you to decide what works best, but having a fallback plan that you can either follow or toss is perhaps the wisest solution. After all, you can always go to Plan C…whatever that may be. It will leave you calmer and decrease your anxiety when faced with the unexpected!

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