If you find yourself concerned about the uncertainty of the future, you’re not alone. But there’s an open secret that may surprise you: the future has always been uncertain. One way you can tame uncertainty is by creating a contingency plan.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, you may have felt like you knew what to expect on the path in front of you. Certainly there are flashes of the future you can predict or envision, but much of what happens is out of your control. If nothing else, the pandemic has made that truth more clear. And it leaves you with a choice to make about how you approach planning for the future: should you make plans or not?
I hope you’ll decide to make plans. Creating a path forward for yourself is a signal that you are optimistic about the future. The challenge in uncertain times is whether your plan will stand up to the strains of a rapidly-changing environment. But here’s another open secret: you can make a plan that works in lots of different circumstances.
Consider your options
As you ponder the uncertain future ahead of you, consider a few options that would make you happy. If you have a career you really love and want to stay in it, maybe it’s time to think about what could give you more flexibility. Maybe it’s weighing the implications of being in a long lease versus a short one. Or how you can make your services more inclusive to attract a wider audience. What language or languages might help you reach more people with your message? Moreover, how much of this can you do without diluting your impact?
And keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better. What if you need to go deeper into your niche so you have a narrower specialty? What services do you need to discontinue so you can focus on the ones that deliver the most value for your clients? Which parts of your job are most rewarding to you? Which parts can you contract out so you can spend more time on the elements that are profitable?
These can all be classified as contingency plans. And they can be your best friend when you’re facing uncertainty.
Because options can give you certainty
Contingency planning gives you more than one way to reach your goals or desired outcome. A contingency plan doesn’t necessarily mean you’re giving up on your goal or that your pursuit diverges from the direction you intend, but it can mean that you’ve given thought to the impact of things outside your control. And you’ve given yourself some options that will produce the outcomes you desire. Or even an outcome better than the one you envisioned.
So, now that you have peered into the unknown future, what do you see? I hope you see something as bright and hopeful as the future you envisioned before the pandemic hit. And I hope you see how giving yourself options will lead you to the goals you have so carefully crafted, even if it means taking a detour along the way.
Change is a constant in modern-day life. But you can tame uncertainty by creating a contingency plan to mange it.