March 14, 2022

Do you have a plan B?

I like the idea of having no plan B. 

I often tell the story of Gen. Grant and the siege of Vicksburg.

Vicksburg was a strategic city on the Mississippi River during the Civil War. He who commanded Vicksburg commanded the Mississippi River and the supplies traveling up and down it.

All of the Union generals before Grant had failed to take Vicksburg. The Grant came along. He was known for doing things differently. He didn’t play according to the standard war-fighting playbook.  Warfighting at the time was heavily dependent on having clear lines of supply. Your army lived or died on its lines of supply.

To take Vicksburg, Grant did something crazy. He cut his own lines of supply. For him, the armies had gotten too dependent on them. They could have all other military advantages but if the lines of supply were not clear or cut, then the military sound thing to do at the time was fall back, regroup, reestablish your supply lines.

Grant said, the heck with that. We’re taking Vicksburg without being tethered to cumbersome and vulnerable lines of supply. The land would provide all his Army needed. 

For him Grant, it was Vicksburg or die! He fused to be forced into a Plan B if his supply lines were cut, which the South and their cavalry were good at doing.

No Plan B. 

Reminds me of another one of my favorite generals. The famous Carthaginian general, general Hannibal. He was determined he was going to attack Rome by land instead of the sea. To do that, he had taken his famed and feared war elephants through the Alps. His generals said it couldn’t be done, to which General Hannibal famously said:

“We will with find a way, or make one!”

I love that.

I say all of that to say, our approach to obtaining our dream goals should have that same tenacity. 

Often we don’t. We have a Plan B. We say to ourselves, well if this doesn’t work out, I can always do X. If I set up this business and it doesn’t work out, I can always go back employed and find another job.

Don’t give yourself the out. If you do, in the back of your mind, you’ll be thinking you always have the option to quit and go back to doing your old thing. Instead, be like Grant and Hannibal. Find a way or make one, no Plan B. There’s no going back. Victory or death! Ok, that may be a little extreme in the case of everyday business. But you get my point.

Don’t give yourself an easy option out. Your dreams are worth more than that!

Go all in or don’t go in at all.

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