Pillar #3 of Awesome Risk-Taking: Make A Plan With an Escape Hatch

Welcome, Lateral Action readers! I’m glad you found your way here from my guest post today on selling your art. Riskology.co is all about getting more from life by taking bigger and better risks. Thanks for joining the movement.


This is pillar #3 of a 5 pillar series that I’m writing for adventurous risk-takers looking to change their lives by taking more chances.

Anyone can do something crazy, but it takes a little more finesse to do it great and the steps aren’t as well known as you might think.

Be sure to sign up for free updates to keep up with the lessons and get some unpopular but very effective knowledge about turning your scary ideas into reality.

Make A Plan You Can Abandon

Depending on how you do it, planning can be one of the most important or least important things you do when you prepare to take a big risk.

A well thought-out game plan can take a vague idea you’d never act on otherwise and give it the concrete footing it needs to feel possible. A plan give your ideas legs and arms.

On the other hand, it can totally cripple your progress and destroy any chance at success from the get go if it’s done wrong.

In my experience, people who don’t like to plan usually feel that way because it just feels like guessing or like they’re tying themselves down to something they’re not sure will work. “If you get it wrong, what’s the point?” they say.

But that’s exactly the point. You’re going to get it wrong. You have to.

Remember, we’re taking a risk here. We’re doing things we’ve never done before like quitting our jobs, starting businesses, traveling to strange places, and pushing ourselves to the extreme. There’s no 12-step-plan that’s guaranteed to get us there, and that’s why we have to make our own if we want a chance at all of actually taking action.

We need a plan that we’re allowed to abandon. A plan with an escape hatch, lets call it.

If you think about it, this is exactly how a business plan works. Here’s a little secret about business plans – nobody that ever wrote one had any idea if they’d gotten it right or not. They just made their best guess.

To make an effective plan, you have to pretend that you have all the answers, and then set to work testing them.

This plan gives you your solid, baseline assumptions – something you can actually act on. Then, when you start testing your assumptions and find out half of them are wrong (this will happen), you throw those ones out and start over, or you revise them until they can actually work.

Planning is a fluid process, not one that starts and stops before you actually start doing. Planning is an integral part of doing. There’s no stone tablet and no obligation to follow it perfectly.

In fact, as soon as you allow the plan to become the be all end all, that’s exactly when you’re in deep trouble.

Take The Titanic, for example. The goal was to deliver 2,300 people safely to New York City. The plan was to do it on a cruise ship.

Obviously, an iceberg put a damper on that plan, but the crew was so attached to it and so sure of it’s “unsinkable” ship, they ignored iceberg warnings for days before they finally hit one. And when they did, they were still so stuck to the “plan” that they didn’t change course and start dispatching lifeboats until it was far too late to save everyone. As a result, 1,400 of those people drowned unnecessarily. Complete tragedy.

When I decided to launch Riskology.co, the goal was to create a blog where people could learn how to appreciate risk. I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I just guessed. I made a schedule that covered what I thought the important aspects were and would keep me on track. Then I set to it.

Well, as you can guess, I got a lot of those things wrong, but I let them go when I realized it, revised the plan to my new best guess, and got back to work. And here it is, Riskology.co, up and running.

The path that eventually got it here doesn’t even come close to resembling what I first pictured, yet here it is.

If I’d stuck to the original plan, I’d have never made it here. But, if I’d never made the plan in the first place, I’d have no idea where “here” is.

So, as you’re getting closer and closer to taking the leap on your next big adventure, whatever it may be, remember that you’re going to start with very little knowledge about how to actually attain it. That’s OK. Just give it your best guess and revise like crazy as you learn what actually works and what doesn’t.

You’re allowed to get it wrong as many times as it takes to get it right.

What does your current plan look like? Does it have an escape hatch?