Punch in face

Everybody Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth

“Everybody Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth” most will immediately recognise the quote as coming from boxer Mike Tyson, it is such a very a familiar phrase, so much so that you have probably used it yourself at one time or another but what does it really mean.

When considering your professional career, as a leader or an entrepreneur we all face set backs at time. How well you recover has a lot to do with your preparation, planning and mental resilience.

Having contingency plans for your career is not just logical it is essential. Back in the early 1990’s I was working in advertising, where the average tenure of most creative staff was nine months. Lose a client and the whole team expected to lose their jobs, win an industry accolade or award for great work and get poached to work in new firm with a good pay rise. The staff turn over was phenomenal and everyone in that business was always ready for change, feast or famine. You could be doing great work and still lose your job with no notice, it was just an accepted aspect of working in the advertising industry.

One former colleague referred to it as alway having his parachute properly packed. By that he meant that he had his CV up to date, good relationships with recruiters, examples of his best work, a strong network of potential employers and enough funds to tide him over until the next opportunity surfaced.

Experienced entrepreneurs are always considering plan B, plan C and plan D because the first alternative is unlikely to work out exactly the way you expected no matter how hard you worked on it.

Everybody you fight is not your enemy

“As a founder, keeping your company alive requires you to think creatively and independently. More often than not conditions will change so fast any original plan, regardless of how well-thought-out, quickly becomes irrelevant.”

Erika Lucas, StitchCrew 3rd September 2018

A key point that comes from the famous quote by Mike Tyson is everyone thinks that they have a plan, but when conditions blindside you that plan might not be enough. It may no longer be appropriate and you may end up a little stunned, the trick is to not get too many other blows while changing strategy. Much like the army process of ‘Red Teaming’ it is important to consider the alternative strategies for your career (plan A, B and C).

Leadership Coach Mark Hodgson has built a model around building your strategic influence in order to deal with getting the ‘punch in the face’. He provides this advice continuing the boxing analogy:

  • Get up again – you are going to face your share of failure and pain but you need to get right back up
  • Learn how to take the punch – so you had a set back, be prepared to deal with with it and get right back to work, your reputation is a reflection of how you well you can absorb tough outcomes and remain professional
  • Get off the ropes fast – understand that failure is part of the journey, never waste a failed project, an outage or a lost client – everyone is a learning opportunity, a way to get better.
Mark Hodges Strategic Influence Model
Source: markhodgson.com
  1. Do Create content that distinguishes you
  2. Do Engage with elegance and energy to connect with opportunities
  3. Do Execute flawlessly
  4. Be Productive – you have to be ruthless with your time and your resources
  5. Be Strategic – build a plan that drives discipline to get stuff done
  6. Be Accountable – Hold yourself to meet commitments and use others to encourage you to deliver on agreed actions and targets.
  7. Build Resilience – an ability to deal with failure and rapidly rebound.
  8. Build Support – Having a strong support group around you will get you through the tough times.
  9. Build Community – Ultimately your influence is with your network, the community of people who you respect and that respect you.

Key Takeaways

  • Be prepared for what might happen and how you will deal with the alternatives
  • Build your resilience to overcome failure and learn from the opportunity
  • Establish your support network, they provide the best way to get through the tough times
Synopsis of an article from The Startup
by David Wyld
Published 17th October 2019 

Article by StitchCrew
by Erika Lucas
Published 3rd September 2018

Article from MarkHodgson.com
by Mark Hodgson
Published 15th May 2019

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