When you’re ready for a new direction, don’t fall back on Plan B.

A friend and business contact of mine called me with a dilemma he was facing.

He had exited a corporate job in the travel industry about a year before and had been looking at different options for starting a new business. He had a couple of ideas – neither of them back in travel. His dilemma was this:
How do I bring in income while I decide which direction to take?

His ‘rational’ thinking was telling him to take a part-time consulting role back in travel 3 days a week, to bring in regular income.
Alarm bells sounded: this is exactly the situation I found myself in years earlier.

It’s a classic Plan B scenario.

Back in 2012 I had been working in marketing for 25 years, but had lost my mojo for it. I had discovered a new calling – to help people and businesses to define and align with their Purpose.

My main inspiration for this was a burning desire to help people do work that inspires them – work that they are born to do, rather than work that just ‘pays the bills.’ And the more I looked at this, the more I found that this affected not only individuals and small businesses, but large corporations too. It was causing fatigue, depression, poor performance and productivity, and pressure on relationships both inside and outside of work.

But I also discovered that when people and businesses discovered and aligned with their Purpose, everything changed. It was like a magic wand.

I created an online course to guide people through the process of identifying their Purpose and defining it through an ‘Authentic Business Story’ that explains the why, what and how of their business in a way that attracts like-minded customers.

But then the fear kicked in. What if people didn’t see the same ‘burning need’ as I did for Purpose in their work / business / organisation? What if I couldn’t find enough clients?

So I went back to Plan B.

I returned to being a marketing consultant to bring the dollars in.

And that’s when things got really uncomfortable. I felt trapped, uninspired, demotivated. It was like the world had switched from colour to black and white.

I had one foot on a chair called ‘Purpose’ and the other on a chair labelled ‘marketing,’ and I was slowly sinking as the two chairs moved apart. I’m no gymnast, so doing the splits wasn’t at all comfortable.

It felt like I was drowning in treacle – where treacle is the money, but it’s slowly suffocating you.

And all of this came rushing back to me as I listened to my friend explaining his dilemma.

So this is what I suggested my friend do:

1. Decide which market / area of business really inspires you.

This is the classic ‘Why’ that writing like Simon Sinek talk about.

To help decide ask yourself:

“What am I really here to do for people?”

“What change do I want to bring?”

“What does my heart say?”

“What does my gut say?”

2. Look for part-time / consulting work opportunities in this field.

This provides a number of benefits:

  1. Work that inspires you.
  2. An understanding of how you can bring your own way of thinking and being to this area, so you can offer something genuinely unique, inspiring and powerful.
  3. First-hand experience to help you decide if this is really what you want to do.
  4. Regular income.

That’s what I call committing to Plan A.

He messaged me the following day:

“Your chat with me yesterday has connected with an added ‘punchiness’ that wasn’t there before – and it’s not pushy, it’s direct. No beating about the bush, just straight to clarity.”

So if you find yourself in the same situation, please don’t fall back on ‘Plan B.’ Once you feel like your old work is no longer serving you, I urge you to move forward with that new thing that is calling you.

In this new work economy where a job for life is no longer the norm, and there are plenty of consulting and part-time opportunities available to you, it’s so much easier to commit to ‘Plan A,’ and see where it takes you.

Justin JG Cooper is is a Purpose Consultant, the founder of Brand Purpose .Co, and the author of Marketing is Dead, Long Live Purposing.