art of connection

Option B: What to do when Option A is no longer available

I turned 30 this weekend so I wanted to take this week to reflect on where the past decade has taken me and where I'm going looking forward. 

I've been realizing how much fear I've always had around the unknown and how much time I've spent in my twenties stressed out and scared about what "could" happen. But I am super over being stressed and scared because not only do I not want premature wrinkles, but I want to be happy and content with where I am now. and now. and now. 

I was talking to my girlfriend recently and when we were chatting about our fears she mentioned Alexandra Franzen's article on "plan z".

The gist of finding your "plan z" is that we work ourselves into so much fear around the unknown, around what could happen if we don't get the job, if we lose the job, if our book or product or whatever doesn't sell, if our partner breaks up with us, etc (also known as our "plan A). but then we stop there, without ever really diving into the worst case scenario and THAT is where our fears fester. 

Plan Z is what your plan is if everything in your entire life falls apart.

Right after our conversation I came across Sheryl Sandberg's (the COO of Facebook) new book Option B, which is a similar idea with tons of research on how we build resilience after our "Option A" is no longer an option. 

In reconciling and healing from my own grief from my fiance breaking off our engagement, which was my Option A, I've searched for meaning in ways I've never needed to search for meaning before... I've looked for my Option B and I've been diving into my Plan Z.

I've talked with a father who lost his son to a rare disease, countless people who have suffered from breakups, and searched high and low for stories that resonate with the meaning that I'm bringing into my own life.

I've started to follow Gabby Bernstein when I want to be "spiritual chic" (sounds oxymoronic, I know), but she has a way of straight talking and putting "woo woo" into real life that I totally dig.

I read and listen to Dr Wayne Dyer when I want to feel warm and cozy, like my dad is reading me a bedtime story. 

And I've now turned to voices like Sheryl Sandberg, whose husband's death propelled her into a journey of looking for Option B when Option A, her husband, was no longer there (this interview on the OnBeing podcast that Sheryl does with Adam Grant has so much wisdom around how to face loss, whatever that loss may be for you, I highly recommend taking a listen).

Now that I'm 30 I figure it's about time start believing in something that serves me more than my belief system of fear has so far. I'm choosing to believe the Universe is a kind place that has in store for me so much more than I can fathom in my mind. 

And that makes Option B and Plan Z not so scary, after all. 



How can you tell your partner what you want in bed? (HTI: Your Relationship)

Actually, let's back up a bit here and start with WHY you don't tell your partner what you want in bed. I'll give you one guess (in rhymes with shmear).

Yep, you guessed it: fear. We're afraid.

And somehow we've made that fear our identity. "I can't ask for what I want because I wasn't raised that way." "I'm too scared", "what if he rejects me?" 

Now listen, we could get real heavy into this subject because fear is pretty much the most common emotion we can feel, but I want to stop before I even get started because all it takes is a quick google search to find anything you want to know about the subject. 

So let me just save you some time and get to a remedy: lean into the fear. You don't walk into the fire because you're not afraid, you want into the fire in SPITE of being afraid. That's the only place growth happens. When you let fear paralyze you and become your identity, you've let your STORY win... not who you actually are, but the STORY you've created about who you are.

Now that we know what's stopping us and how to shift it, here's an article written by one of my faves, Relationship Therapist, Esther Perel, on the how's of telling your partner what you want.

So now that you know the skill, the only thing to get past is the fear. 

You've got this.