Planning

opportunity-ahead

When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.  John Wooden

I have not yet encountered a person who does not dream of becoming something more. The definition of something more is different based on the individual I am speaking with. However, I have not spoken to someone and had them say they just want to progressively diminish in capacity and then die. Based on this observation, using my limited my social circle, I have come to the conclusion that we all are striving, working, or dreaming towards something greater in our lives.

The very fact that you clicked on this article proves it. There is something you want or need to get ready for. The good news is…I can help. The bad news is…I can’t do it for you. You have to act on the information that is provided to you.

See Also: The Handicapping Effects of the Wrong Type of Help

Preparation for your future is crucial in your development process and is a much better process than learning from experience alone. Benjamin Franklin sums it up like this, “If you are failing to prepare, then you are preparing to fail.” Statements like this can be found throughout history including religious text but so often individuals fail to apply them to every aspect of their lives. It is more common for preparation to be compartmentalized to one area of intense focus usually driven by an urgent demand. The purpose of preparation is to not get ready when the opportunity arises but instead to be ready to act on any opportunity or obstacle (related to your talents) that becomes available.

Today I want to share with you how to prepare. Rather it is your spiritual walk (ministry), career, family, finances, or health, the principles provided below are universal.

1. Have A Specific Idea of Where You Want to Go

Without a clear indication of where you want to go you will get lost and waste a lot of time trying to get back in the right direction. During this part of the process you have to ask yourself a few important questions:

What am I preparing for?
Why am I preparing for it?
What does the perfect opportunity I am seeking look like?

2. Assess Exactly Where You Are

It is important to know what skills, talents, and abilities that you already have in comparison to what is required for the opportunity you are seeking. Ask yourself these questions:

What am I good at already related to the opportunity I want?
How did I get to where I am now?
What investments have I made in myself to get me here? (time, effort, resources, etc…)

3. Determine What You Need to Move Forward

In order to reach the next step on your path, you have to be honest about what you lack that may hinder you from reaching it. Revealing these areas can be difficult so here are some good questions to ask yourself to begin that internal dialogue:

What talents do I have that I can develop to something better?
How will I maximize my abilities in the areas necessary to be successful? (time, effort, resources, etc…)
What knowledge do I need to reach my goals faster and where or who can I obtain it from?

4. Develop Processes to Help You Grow

Before we ever can step into the spotlight, we need to grow into it. There is nothing more embarrassing to be thrown into an opportunity that you are not ready for. It can rattle your confidence and create a lasting negative effect that may scare you from moving forward. Below are a few ideas on what type of processes to develop:

For Additional Knowledge – Books, seminars, classes, mentors, etc.
For Additional Skills – Apprenticeships, workshops,  professional organizations

Create a plan that works for you based on your individual schedule and strengths. I am an avid reader so I constantly have a stack of books nearby and read about 3-4 new titles every month. I read two chapters daily, write weekly, I also am involved in professional organizations to help me with public speaking and writing. These are disciplines I created to stay sharp.

5. Maintain Disciplines until the Moment Arrives

Just because you take all of the necessary steps does not guarantee an opportunity will immediately become available. There is always a waiting period that ensues while you are ramping up and getting ready. During this waiting period, it is crucial that you continue preparing diligently. It is common that people relax when there is no opposition at hand. You have to keep and maintain those disciplines even when it seems like nothing is happening.

From my personal experience, every time I prepare for something I get a chance to use it, eventually. I don’t know if you would call that favor, luck, or fate but I do know being prepared has paid some major dividends in my life.

See Also: Are You Still Waiting on the Right Opportunity

When you take the time to prepare you are going to intentionally create habits that will help you to release potential, maximize your talents, and enhance your quality of life. The ideas provided are simple to understand but they are difficult to act upon. I promise if you determine where you want to go, assess where you are, determine what you need to go forward, develop processes to move your forward, and keep at it until the right opportunity arrives you are going to reach your goals faster, find more fulfillment, and live with a sense of purpose.

What are you getting ready for?

Focus

“I just have a few things on my list to get done today and then we can go out.”

Shifting priorities and projects on a daily basis was something I began to be known for and not in a good way. Between cutting the lawn, fixing the wall in the attic, cleaning the carpet, changing the tires on the car, and writing, I could say my schedule was pretty full. These were all things that could have been done in the period of one day. Instead of focusing on one task at a time, I chose to multi-task for the sake of getting more things done. Two weeks later I have crossed two things off of the list. Why? I never had focus.

See Also: Improve Your Focus and Get More Done

I never really understood the benefits of focusing on one thing at a time. I have a personality where I constantly jump from one thing to the next as visual stimuli often captures my attention influencing my thoughts to wander from one place to the next. I am like a resting dog who see a squirrel out the window only to be distracted when the mail man drops the recent set of bills in the door slot who then chases his tail because it happened to be in my view. It wasn’t until I realized how much time I wasted “chasing my tail” did my lack of focus become a bull’s-eye target in my pursuit of personal growth.

In my intentional drive to improve my focus I have learned about the following powerful effects it plays in our lives:

1. Focus is a Time Saver

“The world stands aside to let anyone pass who knows where he or she is going.” David Star Jordan

It is much easier to obtain a single goal instead of 20 goals. As a young kid I loved going to carnivals. I loved the food, the rides, but most importantly I loved the games. I liked to win prizes. One of the games I often played was the shooting game with moving targets. Each target gave you a certain amount of points and your combined score over a specified amount would award you a prize.

The first few times I played, I would hit the small targets going from one to the other quickly. I would be all over the place. Using this method I always got the small prize. Frustrated and running out of money, I asked the commissioned salesman, (they had to be on some type of sales quota the way he was pushing this game) how do I get the big prize. This is when I was given the best life advice I never listened to until I was an adult years later.

“You are aiming to small. To get the big prize, you have to shoot for something bigger. Focus only on the big targets.”

The next round instead of shooting 25 shots at random targets, I shot 3 times at one target and got the biggest bear at the stand. In fact, it took me less time to do it and it was more rewarding.

2. Focus is Invigorating

“Attempting everything, like attempting nothing, will suck the life out of you.” John Maxwell.

Clarity and focus have allowed me to benefit from increased energy and joy from getting things done at the best of my ability. When I was torn between several different projects, I often found myself frustrated and overwhelmed. Acting in that capacity, I felt like I was in a canoe paddling on one side going in circles. Now when I start a task and work at it until it is completed, I can see, feel, and experience the momentum. There is no feeling like taking on a challenge and seeing it through to the end. That feeling can be multiplied especially when the task is difficult.

Don’t continue to let shifting priorities drain you.

3. Focus Improves Concentration

“What you focus on expands.” Mike Kendrick

By adding the practice of maintaining my focus on one task at a time, I have personally experienced an increase in concentration in areas outside of my focus as well. I listen more intently when my wife or children speak. I read more thoroughly for comprehension and often search for ways to practically apply what I read to my life. I recognize opportunities to learn from others when watching them speak or interact. With improved concentration and focus my productivity and efficiency is increasing day by day allowing me to get more and more done.

See Also: Don’t Waste Your Time

If you were anything like me, stuck shifting between priorities, I want you to know that a simple change in behaviors can make a dramatic difference in your life. If you want to be more effective at your job, more loving to your family, more committed to your finances, it is all possible by improving your focus. Do one thing at a time, stay consistent, and don’t give up! Save time, have more energy, and improve your concentration by learning how to focus.

Today I challenge you to do one thing at a time. I know it will add some great benefits to your life.

 

start button“What are you waiting on?”

I heard this question so many times over the last few years that I seriously thought about buying a t-shirt with my answer on it so people would leave me alone. It just amazes me how everyone in the world can see when you are not living up to your potential but they struggle so hard to see the same greatness within themselves. Being a man of quick wit and infinite charm (long term dream I figured I could force upon you), I would often fire back at the people who would ask me this question a simple response.

“You. I’m waiting on you to get started.”

See Also: Building a Growth Plan That Works

The Excuses We Often Use To Not Start Right Now

That response always gets me an interesting answer. This is where the excuses and self doubting comments begin to form and pour out of their pores like sweat of a three hundred pound man in the sauna.

“I just don’t have the talent you do.”
“I don’t know what to do yet.”
“I don’t know what I’m good at.”
“We are different because you know what you are suppose to do.”
“I really don’t have a clue where my passions are.”
“I don’t know where to begin.”
“I’m going to start, tomorrow.”
“I’m waiting on the right opportunity.”
“Somehow, someway, someday, I am going to go for it.”

Does this sound familiar to you at all? Have you ever found yourself using these statements? Continue reading “Start Right Now” »

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