Watching the Super Bowl made me think about contingency plans. You know what makes a great quarterback? Yeah, they need speed, they need an arm that can throw the football like a rocket into the arms of a receiver on the move. That, though is what makes a good quarterback. A great quarterback has more. He has the ability to read the field go through his mental checklist and execute a play that fits the situation – all while one or more three hundred pound gladiators close on him.
What he is doing is going through his contingency plan. He knows what the primary plan is, but of course he has other plans to fall back on. We did the same thing in Special Forces. For all important actions we had what we called a PACE plan.
- P – Primary
- A – Alternate
- C – Contingency
- E – Emergency
Things go wrong, you might have a failed breach. Your parachute might not open. You have to have a plan for the when the original plan doesn't work.
By having a PACE plan, we were pretty much prepared for anything. You know that things never exactly go as planned so we were ready to improvise, adapt, and overcome. Now you know that we didn’t do this on the fly, we were prepared to do the improvising and adapting. The same goes for the NFL quarterback as he check downs to see what receivers are open, next to see if he can scramble and finally to see where he can thrown the ball away safely to.
…so as you go through life, think about what is coming up and have a PACE plan for yourself. It might look like to others that you are improvising on the fly, but you will be prepare for when circumstances don’t go as planned as they always do.