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February 14, 2024

PACE Plans

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I’m deeply inspired by the caliber of people in the military community, and the quality of the work they do. A friend of mine named Chad Jackman, who was in the Army, told me about one of their protocols called PACE Plans.

In life things hardly ever go according to plan. And when things start to go off plan it creates a very pivotal moment. We get flustered and momentarily emotional, yet we need to continue thinking rationally (especially troops in a war zone). That’s why it’s extremely helpful to have a a number of different plans in place so that you can rely on your preparation to quickly and effectively respond.

These are PACE Plans, and PACE is just an acronym for primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency.

First, the primary plan is exactly what you’d expect. It’s the ideal. It’s how you’d like things to go when there are no obstacles or challenges.

The alternate plan is the back up to the primary. It helps you to have a new ideal established in the event that something goes wrong. But specifically, something that’s foreseeable or predictable. This means that it’s not too foreign of an environment and properly accommodates the new context.

Next is the contingency plan. This is utilized when the objective has changed. When something significant enough happens that make the original outcome no longer possible or realistic, you need to have a different acceptable result in mind. A B- isn’t an A+ but it’s better than outright failure, and when you have clarity on what that different acceptable result is, you can more effectively achieve it should you need to.

And last is ‘emergency’. This is exactly what you think it is. It’s what you do when everything goes wrong and all you want to do is cut your losses or limit damage. With an advanced understanding of how you’d go about doing that you have a better chance to spare whatever you can.

I think one of the main reasons people don’t succeed with their goals is because they don’t have any plan to achieve it, let alone four. And if anything, the emphasis here is to not underestimate the power of having a high-quality, clear, and optimized plan. No matter what battlefield you enter, you’re more likely to get a better results when you’re prepared with a plan of attack.

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