the Jill Saunders blog

No Plan B


October 9, 2022

For those of you close to me, you know I have a son, Tyler, who is a senior at the University of Wisconsin Madison. It’s a big week for him, he finds out his MCAT results. I’d like to tell you a little story about him that I think is inspiring, and one I know I could learn from.

Tyler didn’t always want to go to med school. There was a period when he wanted to be a shark hunter. That had me a little worried, but I never wanted to discourage him. So instead, we started a little career exploration group with a bunch of his friends. He learned about architecture and the practice of law, he even got a day with the Timberwolves back office to learn about sports management. He kept growing up, and by the time he was a freshman in college, he decided on his current path.

So, Tyler and I have been in a lot of conversations lately about his path ahead. The process of applying for med school, what happens after his senior year, and we have talked about how competitive it is to get into med school.

The protective mama bear in me wants him to know it will all be ok. I’ve had the benefit of life experiences, many not easy, and I wanted to assure him that it will all work out. I started talking about a Plan B. “You know Tyler, if med school doesn’t work out, you could try…” What happened to that part of me that didn’t want to discourage him from being a shark hunter, but now I was talking about other options?

What I realized soon into this conversation is that he doesn’t have a Plan B. His Plan A is all he is focusing on. As one who believes in having a dream, I thought, “why am I worrying about this?”, “why am I not all in for his Plan A?” So I’ve changed my mindset, I’m not talking or worrying about a Plan B. I’m all in to sort through the hurdles and challenges he may face, I’m not going to be a mom talking about a Plan B.

It made me think about my life, where do I settle for Plan B? And, more importantly, what is that Plan A that most brings me alive? What am I willing to give my whole heart and mind to it in a way so I have no regrets that I didn’t give it my all? His Plan A commitment reminded me to recommit to my Plan A. What is it that may take everything I have in me, but is mine to do?

Why not have a Plan A? Sure, there will be setbacks, and obstacles, and the challenges of living, but when you know in your heart about how you want to make the world a little better, why not give it your everything? And, what I now want to re-frame, is that Plan A’s just evolve to get better, when the path takes a curve, the Plan A path is just getting a little sweeter in some way.

So, if you’ve grown a little weary or discouraged – I believe in you. I believe there is a Plan A in you that is flickering in your soul. A Plan A that would fill your life with a little more joy and possibility, more love and success.

Here’s what God wrote for Tyler, even without knowing how he did on the MCAT. God knows he is perfectly successful just as he is, with all the effort he has given his path.

So, if Tyler’s path changes, which it might, I never want it to be called a Plan B. I’m holding that it’s an even sweeter Plan A, designed just for him.

With so much love,


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