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.
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.
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?