BizBuzz: Plan A Not Working? Kick the %#@& Out of Plan B


By Judith Lee

Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg

This time of year I am fascinated to read commencement addresses given by accomplished people. So far this year, my favorite is the one given by Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO and author of Lean In) to the graduates of UC Berkeley.

Sandberg spoke eloquently about resilience, both in one’s personal and professional lives. As the years (and decades) have gone by, resilience has become the attribute I value most.

As our son was going through his college years, I often would tell him and his friends that their education was not meant to prepare them for “a career” but to prepare them for when they had to change careers – and they would likely face this more than once.

In Sandberg’s speech, she recounted what a wise friend told her “Plan A is not available. So let’s kick the shit out of Plan B!” This reminded me that my current business is, indeed, a Plan B that arose from the dark days of the Great Recession in 2009.

For several reasons, I had entirely forgotten this business was a Plan B: I enjoy it so much, it connects me with so many great people I would never have met in Plan A, it feels like the Plan that should have happened all along. Yet like every Plan B, it started with events that were out of my control, it felt strange and risky, and in fact, not much like a Plan at all.

And yes, with my Plan B I had some false starts, made mistakes, and pushed forward when I wasn’t sure of the outcome. But with determination and a positive attitude, I did “kick the shit out of Plan B” and am I ever glad I did!

Sandberg also noted in her speech that, to some degree, we all are living our Plan B. That’s because not all dreams come true, not all plans work out, and many events cannot be controlled or even anticipated.

We all have to react, respond, and/or recover throughout our lives. The question is: Will you do this with resentment mired in disappointment, or with a positive attitude that propels you into a fresh chapter in your life?

Congratulations to all the graduates who have yet to discover their Plan B(s). And congratulations to everyone else who is “kicking the shit out of Plan B”!

Click here to watch Sheryl Sandberg’s entire Stanford commencement speech.


4.6.2015 Judith LeeJudith Lee is a marketing and communications professional who focuses on social media and email marketing based in the Philadelphia suburbs. She is a SCORE Volunteer and the Chairperson of her local Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at 610-368-2058 or via email at

Top photo credit: GOOD TO HAVE via photopin (license)

Stay Connected, Stay Informed

Subscribe for great stories in your community!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.