One lesson good flight instructors teach their students (over and over) is that they should always “have an out.”
Having an out is knowing where to go for safety. Whether it’s a place to land, or getting to good weather to make landing better, or even landing somewhere that isn’t a runway if that’s the safest option.
“Having an out” doesn’t have to be a complex plan. You don’t need to take a lot of time to come up with it, but we should ALWAYS have an out. Flying in marginal weather? Which way and how away is good weather? Launching a new product with the business? What do you do if it doesn’t work? Joining a partnership? Do you have an exit plan? It doesn’t need to be complex, and can save an enormous amount of stress, and allow for confident and correct decision making when circumstances require it.
While contemplating, often it helps to have minor distraction. When I’m contemplating at my desk, sometimes the minor distraction of choice is the game “FreeCell.”
Even playing FreeCell is an opportunity to learn something. One of the things it’s teaching me now is about managing opportunities. There are strategies to the game; they mostly involve maximizing opportunities — if you increase the number of opportunities you have, the easier the game is to play. There is also a hidden lesson. Even if you can’t see the opportunities, if you plan a few steps ahead, and try not to go down dead ends — other opportunities almost always become apparent.
To have a plan doesn’t mean you have to plan for everything. It doesn’t mean you need to know the whole road. New opportunities will almost always appear -especially if you’re creating a welcoming environment for them.