Don’t hedge your bets
We get told this all the time: Hedge your bets. It goes right along with cover your bases, have a back up plan, and yes the good old one, cover your arse.
By all means I agree you should have a Plan B. For sure. I have been known for having plans all the way to F as I am nothing if not pragmatic and a realist. You should design that Plan B, make sure it’s robust, and that those bases are indeed covered. And then you should pop it in your bottom drawer for the rainy day that will hopefully never come.
But here is why I don’t think you should hedge your bets.
When you hedge, you have one foot in one camp, and one foot in another one. And it can be hard to be successful when you are not ‘all in’.
Like the kid who wants to be an artist, but decides to do Economics at College and keep dabbling in art on the side. He is hedging his bets. And you can bet he won’t be a successful artist anytime soon. He is not at all interested in becoming an economist, or an accountant, or a banker. But he is putting his Plan B into action before he even gives Plan A a try out. That’s hedging.
You can hedge for a while. But at some point, you have to decide what you want, how badly you want it, and how far out you are prepared to go to get it.
About 6 years ago I left my corporate job to start my own business. It was pretty scary stuff. I’m a single Mum with a mortgage and the usual responsibilities, so not something to be taken lightly. And I didn’t. I spent about two years before my leap getting ready, building my exit strategy, working on my business model, writing and releasing my first book, saving my money and essentially setting myself up whilst still being committed to my job four days a week.
Now I could have stayed working part time in a corporate role, and put my foot in my business part time. That would have been practical, safe and reasonable. I could have hedged my bets. Research from Professor Adam Grant shows that a vast number of entrepreneurs who stay in their day gig at least part of the time have greater odds of succeeding than many who go into their new ventures full time. So there’s that.
But I knew somewhere deep down, that if I didn’t really go for it, didn’t give it my all and throw myself all the way in, that it would never be what I knew it could be. No, it wasn’t the easy option. It certainly wasn’t the safe option. But for me, it was the all in option that mattered.
I didn’t want to hedge. I wanted to dive deep.
Hedging is about covering yourself against loss. It provides a barrier, a buffer, and can make the pain of change a little easier. It’s certainly a good option for those who are risk averse, like I have been in the past.
But here’s the thing. If you really want to do some something, or you believe in something, or you want to try something really badly, then you need to go for it. With the right venture at the right time, it can serve you really well to jump all the way in and give it everything you have, to know if you can make a success out of it and if it can be all you want it to be.
That something could be a new job, a promotion, taking a sideways step to change careers, starting a new business, up levelling your business, or it could going on that first date, learning to surf or writing that book you know is inside you. You can absolutely work out your Plan B, do your risk analysis, enter the water slowly and take precautions.
But once you decide to go in, go all the way.
Because you deserve to give yourself every possible opportunity to have what you want and what you need, and the only way to get that, to be that, is to be fully in the game.
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Photo Credit : Daiga Ellaby