Prepare!

by Lance Ekum on · 59 comments

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Creative Commons License photo credit: kaibara87

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Prepare: to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity

Athletes do it.  Sports teams do it.  Airline pilots do it.  Professional speakers do it. Musicians do it.  Event planners do it.

Successful people do it.

Prepare.

It’s not always fun.  In fact, sometimes the hours may seem long.  And it might not feel like you’re making any progress.  Yet, success comes from preparation.  The hours you spend preparing make for more positive, more uplifting, more successful hours in the time when it counts.

Plan for Success

Part of the preparation phase is  planning for success.  This is about getting yourself into a state of belief.  Belief in yourself, and that you can accomplish the task before you.  To take this one step further, beyond a belief in yourself, it’s also believing you can be excellence.  Jennifer addresses this point very well in her post, What Reality Have You Created?, highlighted by the fact that we see exactly what we tell ourselves is real.

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Focus

During your preparation, it’s important to focus.  Focus on what’s important to know and do.  Just as Mark discusses in Preparing For Your First Triathlon, focus on those things that you’ll need to do to be successful.  Work on them until you feel good about where you are.  Here, the focus is on what needs to be done.  And no matter what it is you’re preparing for, look at both the mental and physical realms that will need your focus.

Understand

Understand what you are preparing for.  Ask yourself the question “Do I know what it is I’m trying to accomplish?”.  Answer it honestly.  If your answer doesn’t make sense, or if it seems out of alignment with what you see the end result is, then focus more on understanding the scope of what you’re tackling.  Sometimes tasks/projects/games can be ambiguous.  When you encounter ambiguity, take the time to understand.  Understanding will then lead back to the focus you need to continue on.

Pace Yourself

Preparation isn’t all about seeing how fast you can get it all done.  It’s more important to focus on doing it right.    Prepare for success by pacing yourself.  This might mean going over one particular area many times, in an effort to get it “right”.  That’s okay.  Prep time is exactly for that – for smoothing out the rough edges.

Succeed

If you do all the steps above, you are ready for the big “game”.  Success will be waiting for you there.  Remember also that at “game” time, as much as you’ve prepared, you may still be faced with something you hadn’t thought of.  That’s okay.  You do the best you can given what you know.  Will you succeed?  That’s a question only you can answer.  Success is waiting.  As Rupal discusses in Finding Success is a Journey, this is a journey we’re on.  And one worth keeping at.

Through it all, remember why it is you’re doing these things you’re doing.  Whatever it is, it should be something you want to do.  Evita, in her article, Human Doings versus Human Beings, says it so well – about focusing on being instead of just doing.

Be Great!

Your moment is now!  Find those things in life that have meaning to you.  And as you’re getting ready to do these things, prepare.  Prepare and put it all out there on the table.  No regrets!  This is your life.  Be great!

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Jewel/Pink Ink February 24, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Funny I should read in your post that “success is a journey” because I was talking about this with my husband the other night. I was telling him that I was waiting to “be happy” when I reach my goal. I know better. I am trying to enjoy the journey every day.

I love the questions you pose here; they help me focus on what I am trying to accomplish.

Jewel/Pink Ink´s last blog post..A Dream Visualized

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Vered - MomGrind February 24, 2009 at 3:17 pm

“Do I know what it is I’m trying to accomplish?” – this is such an important question. It took me MONTHS to realize what I was trying to accomplish with my blog (build an online portfolio for landing writing gigs, use it as an outlet for my creativity, earn supplemental income). It’s such an important step.

Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..Antibacterial Products Are Dangerous. PLEASE Stop Using Them.

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miruspeg February 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Excellent advise as always Lance.
Philosophy is teaching me the Aspects of an Action whereby we begin and end each action in stillness. To create an action we need impulse and intention. To sustain an action we need discipline, and love. To complete an action we need patience.
Hugs
Peggy

miruspeg´s last blog post..We’ll All Be Rooned!

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Jay February 24, 2009 at 5:03 pm

I love the quote by Lincoln- it matches up well with the carpenter’s code: Measure Twice, Cut Once.

@ Lance- What do you suggest is the best way to prepare for a journey- how much is too much preparation? I know some people who spend thier whole lives in this preparation stage. Thanks for another great post!

Jay´s last blog post..Inner Noodle’s Guide to Dream Analysis- Step 2

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Henie February 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Hi Lance!

I love visiting you! You not only open windows, you open doors wide open for all of us to pass through…thank you!:~)

While I agree that in any goal, careful focus and preparation is necessary, I don’t quite agree with the word “try” as in “Do I know what is it I am “trying” to accomplish”…The word “try” conjures to me, not being able to do something? I’d love to know more of your thoughts on this please. Do you think there is a difference in the process of “trying” vs. “doing?”

As always, I appreciate how you spark my mind!

“Rather than try, do!” ~Henie~

Henie´s last blog post..In the Bosom

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Evita February 24, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Hi Lance

This is another outstanding article where the sharing and growing in wisdom for the betterment of our souls is concerned.

You so eloquently pull together all of the important and critical aspects of why and how to “prepare”. I completely agree with your ideas and philosophy as in my words “we need to pre-pave”. How are you going to have a smooth ride “through life”? By pre-paving, not finding oneself one day driving through the pot holes of life 😉

And this I find applies to the small things too, not just the big. I think that is one area that people tend to neglect, as they always focus on the “big” successes, but there are so many things that we come in contact with more daily, that could also benefit immensely from this approach.

Anyhow your sharing of wisdom and the passion that comes from your writing is unmistakable!

P.S. I am so touched that you have also included me in this article – thank you!!!! What a pleasant surprise 🙂

Evita´s last blog post..The Quote Effect E-Book – What Effect Will It Have On You?

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Natalia Burleson February 24, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Hi Lance! This is a great post. I’m going to make sure hubby reads it. We drove to Orlando today and spent a lot of time talking about his business. He’s learning to believe in himself and he’s already doing great things with his business! I can’t wait to see how much better it gets as he get more and more into it! So thanks for sharing this with us. It’s something that we really need to focus on right now!

Natalia Burleson´s last blog post..Love thy self!

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Jannie Funster February 24, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Lance, have you been over here in my home with a secret videocam?! All this is so what I’m going through these days. “The Hours,” that movie had it down pretty good. It is in those seemingly long, humdrum, often tedious and agonizing HOURS that we really get the stuff done, tho we may not always realize it at the time.

This is one of your best posts, Lance. Really speaks to me in these days I’m preparing my music performances.

And I just love how this starts right out by Planning For Success.

Thank you!

Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Trout-fishing hip waders!

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Arswino February 24, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Lance, I think it is one of your best posts. I like this article so much and the quote as well.
Planning is an important factor to reach success. However, there are many people that has made good planning but lack in the execution.
Thanks for sharing this great article, Lance. 🙂

Arswino´s last blog post..I Want To Be Extraordinary !!

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Scott February 24, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Lance, boy did I ever need to read that. I think I’m prepared..no, I know I’m prepared for what lies ahead of me.
The one thing that really struck me and really impressed me is not what you wrote, but what you didn’t write.
There is no little section in there about what to do if we fail. I think that is just awesome. I was actually looking for it. It only took me a second to realize why it’s not part of the Preparedness…“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” If we conceive failure, we will achieve failure.

Excellent Lance!

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Jennifer February 24, 2009 at 11:44 pm

Lance, how appropriate. I am in the preparatory stages of something big now. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty much spending the whole week preparing for something that is very important and has success written all over it IF I prepare well. I have been thinking about how necessary it is for me to do this preparation. So much of it is mental and spiritual preparation. Without this, I know I would break. With it, I know that God will bless it. This preparation has been wonderful!!

I like how you noted that “And it might not feel like you’re making any progress. Yet, success comes from preparation.” I needed that, as at times this week I’ve felt like I wasn’t making any progress. Yet, I know I am.

This was really good Lance. It was kind of like a pat on the back for me – a good re-enforcer that I’m doing the right thing.

Thanks so much for the link love!

Jennifer´s last blog post..Lessons from Peace Pilgrim

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Giovanna Garcia February 24, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Hi Lance

“Do I know what it is I’m trying to accomplish?” That is such an important question. And of course I love the ending. No regrets!
Thank you,
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Giovanna Garcia´s last blog post..See without eyes.

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Rupal February 25, 2009 at 2:53 am

Great post Lance!! My fav part is NO REGRETS! I have found that It has simplified my life so much to live with that mantra.

Thanks for the holla!!

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Dragos Roua February 25, 2009 at 3:05 am

Highly motivational post! Success is indeed just another vibration and taking the time to prepare for it it’s just the tuning to this vibration. Sounds simple, but as you said, it does require a good deal of discipline and exercise. But the reward is fantastic 😉

Dragos Roua´s last blog post..Trip To Thailand – Day 2

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Ian Peatey February 25, 2009 at 5:04 am

Hi Lance

I often run workshops or give presentations and the importance of preparation has always been clear to me. The times I’ve ignored it have been memorable for all the wrong reasons.

A couple of things I learned for myself

1 Prepare for the journey itself rather than the sights along the way. In terms of a workshop that translates into preparing the overall structuring and flow … and not so much attention on the content which usually takes care of itself

2 Prepare for the destination, not only the starting point.
I used to pay a lot of attention to how to start and nothing about how to end. I try to get better balance these days. It’s a bit like a sprinter only training for the start and forgetting to break the tape.

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Miz February 25, 2009 at 5:21 am

planning and CAREFULLY so is KEY for me.
setting myself up for success so Ill stick with and keep plugging away at WHATEVER the goal is!

Miz´s last blog post..MizFit’s Exercise Videos & A Pocket Freebie.

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Happiness Is Better February 25, 2009 at 6:43 am

I think the most important thing that I have learned about preparing and putting that plan into action is that I need to pace myself.

I’ve also sometimes found myself frustrated by the lack of results or if the plan didn’t pan out.

I’ve since begun to really focus on the journey of life and to enjoy the moment whether a plan falls through or not. While the initial plan may have not worked for a particular project, there is always something I can learn from the process and thus haven’t failed, but I do know what doesn’t work on the path to success.

Happiness Is Better´s last blog post..Cool Links for Week of February 23th

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Lance February 25, 2009 at 7:21 am

@Jewel – I love that term “success is a journey” – it really says that it’s not some endpoint that we reach. It’s all about the steps we take each day on that journey. And even when they’re not the steps that make progress for us, if they’re steps we can learn from, then that journey of success continues! I’m glad the questions help – they do for me, as well.

@Vered – Yes, that question – “Do I know what it is I’m trying to accomplish?” – is so important. And that’s whether we’re working on a one-time project, or on things as great as defining our lives. Getting to an answer is part of the journey, and one well worth taking. Thanks Vered.

@Mirsuspeg – Thank you for sharing that Peggy. That philosophy will serve us all very well. Not necessarily easy to do – yet I do believe our results will be more in line with what we desire if we were to follow this. Thank you very much for sharing this!

@Jay – I love the Lincoln quote too, and it’s one I hadn’t heard before. It fits so well to the message of preparing. If you are well prepared, the work itself will be easier. Good question Jay about preparation. If you get stuck in preparation – and never leave – you’re not going to accomplish the task at hand. I think you have to listen to that inner voice. I know I’ll get to a point sometimes where I’ll say to myself – it’s time to move on. Is that voice always heard? I don’t know. Sometimes we have to listen carefully to hear it. Other times, it might shout loudly. Another way is to possibly invest in the help of another person – to essentially be an adviser – someone you can bounce ideas off of. Thanks for the questions Jay – they’re making me think about how this does apply.

@Henie – Hi Henie! Thanks for bringing this up – the use of the word “try”. Maybe a better word might be “desire”. My thought on the word “try”, though – maybe we won’t always accomplish what we set out to do. If we have tried, though, we have given our effort. I understand what you’re saying – and in fact I agree that “try” can conjure up feeling on not being able to accomplish the task. I am tempted to change the word – although I’m going to leave it as “try” since so many have commented, and it is interesting to hear all the takes on this. Maybe something else will be sparked. And I do appreciate your questioning – it makes me think about all of this much more – and that’s good. You are the one sparking my mind!

@Evita – Hi Evita! What a great analogy you’ve shared – the idea of pre-paving (preparing) to avoid the pot holes of life. This is excellent!! And to the idea of small things – exactly! Maybe the prep time is less – still, though, if we are prepared, then we are in a much better position for success. And, it’s an honor to include you in this post – your words always take me to places that are good for me – on many levels. And your words are good not only for me – for everyone!

@Natalia – Hi Natalia! Yes, please share! And, this business really sounds like something your husband believes in – a real key to success. Prepard, and find success!

@Jannie – Yes, I travel the world is stealth mode…you never saw me, did you!! I haven’t saw this movie, although you’re giving a very good description of it. And that’s exactly it – we get stuff done in those long hours, in the preparation – even if it seems like nothing is happening. Your performances are going to go great Jannie – because you’re putting the time in now. You’re a shining example of this in action! And thank you!!

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Lance February 25, 2009 at 7:21 am

@Arswino – Excellent point Arswino – planning without execution is really nothing. We need to execute also. Just because we’ve prepared as well as can be done – doesn’t get the job done – we’ve still got to do it. Thank you!!

@Scott – Awesome thoughts Scott. And it does fit so well with the Napoleon Hill quote. Failure is not here because that is not something we’re planning for! Failure may happen – or maybe even a better way to look at it – setbacks may happen. However, we prepare for success – for how to reach our goals. I hadn’t really thought about this until you stated here about failure – and I agree completely – this is not something we have to prepare for. Maybe we’re aware that things may not go as planned – still our focus should be on success. Here’s to much success to you today (especially) and always, my friend.

@Jennifer – Very awesome Jennifer – I’m very happy for you! So this is your preparation time – time well spent this week. Use it wisely. And keep hanging in there – great things await you! I am sure of that! And anytime you need a pat on the back, you know where to come to. Continue to be “you” Jennifer… And, your welcome. Know that your articles always go deep for me.

@Giovanna – That we know what we working toward – very important. And in doing all of this, Giovanna – yes, we can reach our end of one project and say “no regrets” – even if things don’t go quite as planned. We can say this, because we have prepared, and given it our all – and that’s all we can do. Thank you!

@Rupal – If we can get to that point – the point of really saying “no regrets” – what a great place to be. We’ll be knowing that we’re putting it all “out on the table” – and that is a mantra worth repeating! And your welcome – really though, thank you for writing that piece – success really is a journey!

@Dragos – Thanks much! “Discipline” is a great word here, and fits well with the idea of preparing. It does take discipline to do this, especially when it seems like we’re not making any progress. And the reward for all of this – awesome! Thanks for stopping by today!

@Ian – Hi Ian. Giving presentations is one of the first areas I think about when I think of preparing. So important – to be able to present clearly and get your point across – being prepared. Great points you’ve shared, Ian. It’s easy to focus on the content of a presentation – and yet, there’s much more to it than just that. And, I thank you for all of this, Ian. I have a presentation coming up in a few weeks that this will be good for me to think about. And prepare for. Thanks again for sharing all of this.

@Miz – Ah, “careful” – how important is that! If we’re sloppy with our planning where does that get us? Someplace we don’t want to be – just we’re good at getting to that point! I like this addition Miz. And I happen to think you’ve got this stuff down – you are doing this – and I think we can all learn from you! Keep being, my friend…

@Happiness Is Better – That’s an important part of this – pacing yourself. It’s not necessarily a sprint to the finish. Preparing is all about doing what needs to be done ahead of time – so you’re ready for the big race when it comes. Still, though, the prep time is not a sprint. And I like how you’ve touched upon failure as not really failure at all, really a chance to learn and then try something different. That’s a great attitude to have in life!

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Karl - Work Happy Now February 25, 2009 at 7:42 am

I love that Lincoln quote. So many of us want success without putting in the time to make it happen. I must admit that I’m guilty of feeling this way.

I’ve wanted my first book to be snatched up by publishers. I make myself laugh just thinking about my lack of humbleness and clarity.

I’ve worked on my fifth blog for over a year now and it’s starting to take hold. I’m proud of my patience and fortitude. I know that as long as I keep sharpening my ax and hitting the tree I will succeed.

Karl – Work Happy Now´s last blog post..Pajama Day

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Dr. J February 25, 2009 at 8:15 am

In one of Richard Bach’s short stories, he describes flying as practicing what it is to be alive. I always liked that one.

There is a time for as the French say, To take that little step back before the large step forward,” just don’t forget to move forward 🙂

Dr. J´s last blog post..Exercising poor judgment and getting your kids moving

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Mindful Mimi February 25, 2009 at 8:30 am

Lance,
You definitely are a starter 🙂 I like the preparation phase. I like to collect information, get my act together. It’s the next step that I often get stuck at. Taken it further, getting is done, growing it.

@Jay: it’s all in the difference of starters, maintainers and finishers I wrote about. If you are a starter, you have all these brilliant ideas and you prepare yourself to death because you have not clue on how to take it further 🙂

Mindful Mimi´s last blog post..The next thing to saying a good thing yourself, is to quote one — Ralpho Waldo Emerson

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Tabitha February 25, 2009 at 9:08 am

So inspiring Lance! you’ve given me a wonderful boost this morning!

Tabitha´s last blog post..Day 25: Goodies, Chocolates & Lilly

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Tess The Bold Life February 25, 2009 at 10:12 am

This is great and I checked out Jennifer’s post. I need to focus on running hills because the 1/2 marathon in Atlanta is hilly. Yikes. One month left to do so. But hey, I can climb any mountain right?

Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..Magic for Your Monday: Bold Steps for Living Your Dreams

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Caroline February 25, 2009 at 10:26 am

Well…I had a nice long comment for this that disappeared when I hit submit… Great post Lance..

Caroline´s last blog post..My shaman walk

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Kathy | Virtual Impax February 25, 2009 at 10:29 am

“Success comes from preparation.”

Oh, I so needed to hear this right now. I’m in the MIDDLE of mucking through the preparation!!! You’re right – it’s not fun – it’s not sexy and it’s not exciting – but it’s so important for success!!!

THANK YOU!!!

Kathy | Virtual Impax´s last blog post..Authenticity and Social Media Transparency

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Dayflyer February 25, 2009 at 10:40 am

Another thoughtful post, Lance.

As long as preparation doesn’t become procrastination it’s sound advice.

Going over something many times to get it right, as in your ‘pacing’ section, will, for some people, mean they’ve confused getting it right with getting it perfect, which they are unlikely to ever achieve. As you said in your previous post about the basketball tournament, there’s only so much you can do in advance, then you have to go with it and face the challenges.

Dayflyer´s last blog post..What does it mean to say you’re sorry?

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Anne Partain February 25, 2009 at 10:44 am

Hello Lance, I appreciate that you brought out the value of preparing mentally before starting any action. I have noticed, if I work on the imagination and beliefs, the doing is very easy and I enjoy it. All the doing in the world is for nothing without the belief being in place.

Valuable post. Thanks.

Anne Partain´s last blog post..Free to be Me

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Stacey Shipman February 25, 2009 at 10:45 am

I’m reminded of someone who once said to me “I feel like a 20 year overnight success.” Often we think success happens overnight. Often, that’s what it looks like, when really it’s been years and years of preparation – trial, error and little successes along the way.

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suZen February 25, 2009 at 10:49 am

Fantastic thought provoking post! We all need to be reminded of this! So many times we set playing Bach as our goal without realizing there is a lot of practice from chopsticks to Bach. Thanks for reminding us that there is a bit more to simply setting goals – some sweat equity is involved – but if you are doing what you are meant to do it never feels like work! SO glad I found your blog!
suZen

suZen´s last blog post..Freud, Women Thinking, Men Not So Much

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Mark February 25, 2009 at 11:06 am

“It’s not always fun. In fact, sometimes the hours may seem long. And it might not feel like you’re making any progress. Yet, success comes from preparation. The hours you spend preparing make for more positive, more uplifting, more successful hours in the time when it counts.”

A very powerful statement Lance! Patience is my biggest challenge and I would imagine for many. Through preparation and repetition comes familiarity, reaction and habit..expand the comfort zone, yes?

Thanks for the mention and link!

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Audra Krell February 25, 2009 at 11:29 am

Hi Lance! Great post. At the Writing for the Soul conference I attended this weekend, we had a great keynote speaker, he is a marathon runner so he talked a lot about what you have written here. He reminded me, that we have to watch our pace. We can seem like we are doing everything right and go and go without ceasing. If we don’t watch our pace, even in the good times, things will fall apart. I think preparation, pace and then just loving the journey with everything you’ve got, are great keys to success.

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Robin February 25, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Hi there lamce – I find that preparing carefully really works for me. I used to be a school teacher – preparation really pays off in that field. And we prepare really well for holidays of events we are working at. Cheers, lance!

Robin´s last blog post..The Fountain Of Youth Gets An Update!

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Diane February 25, 2009 at 6:02 pm

LOVE Your Choice of Pics, Lamce!
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” ~ Napoleon Hill
LOVE IT!
Prepare!

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Laurie February 25, 2009 at 7:36 pm

I read a quote just today that goes with this post so well. “You are who you choose to be”. Isn’t that true? If we choose to think of ourselves as failures, more than likely that’s what will happen.

I was in this situation this week. I presented to a higher grade level than ever before. I wasn’t as familiar with the curriculum for that grade level so I had to hit the books and study. I was able to put together a great presentation but it was only after hours and hours of study and prep. When it all came together, it was really worth it. I felt great about the work I had done and the way the presentation came off. It was an adrenaline rush and I looked like an expert presenter.

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Daphne February 25, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Lance, this was an excellent post. I’m already trying to remember your advice with a mnemonic of some sort. At the moment it’s PFUPS for Prepare, Focus, Understand, Plan, Succeed!

Did you change your email icon? I love the pic of the satchel overflowing with letters… brings back memories of schooldays and when writing and receiving snail mail was such a wonderful part of life. I love it!

Daphne´s last blog post..Book Review: The World Without Us

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Liara Covert February 25, 2009 at 8:29 pm

You are so concise with your words. You get right to the point. Readers are inspired by your enthusiasm and positive energy. Thanks for taking the time to share parts of your life lessons.

Liara Covert´s last blog post..25 Ways to stimulate consciousness

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Lance February 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm

@Karl – I love that Lincoln quote too! I think we all do that at one time or another – trying to find success without putting in the time. Prepare and persist. With these two, you will go far. And based on everything I’ve seen of yours, Karl, you ARE succeeding!

@Dr. J – Flying as being alive – I like that too! For me, it signifies soaring, and really spreading your wings. A great thought! And I love the French saying you shared – prepare and then succeed big!

@Mimi – So, if I’m a starter, is that saying I can prepare forever?? Some days do seem like that – although there’s also this sense of urgency that kicks in if I’ve been at it too long. Interesting thoughts on this and how it relates to what you’ve written. I’ll have to read that again…

@Tabitha – Thanks for stopping by Tabitha! And that’s wonderful that you found this inspiring!

@Tess – So there you go, Tess – you know what you need to focus on in the remainder of the preparation phase. And this is a great example of preparation and how important it is. Doing a 1/2 marathon without any preparation would definitely set you up for failure. You CAN climb any mountain Tess! And you will! Best to you in this upcoming race – I want to hear all about it.

@Caroline – I’m sorry that that happened to your comment – I’ve took a look to see if it ended up here someplace – no luck. Anyway, thanks so much. And thank you for coming back and adding a second comment – I really appreciate it.

@Kathy | Virtual Impax – Keep on mucking through it all, Kathy! It’s this time now that will pay off later (and I think you know that well, don’t you!). Thanks for stopping by.

@Dayflyer – An excellent point, Dayflyer – we don’t want this to roll over into procrastination – which could happen. And we might not even see it as such, just “a couple more things to prepare”… And I agree also on the idea of going over something too much – in an effort to achieve perfection, when getting it “right” is just fine. Awareness becomes a key here, then – being aware of where we’re at in the process – and knowing when to not insist on perfection. This also starts to become subjective – as what is perfect to one person is often not going to be for another. Thanks for all your added insight here today. This is excellent – all of it!

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Lance February 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm

@Anne – Thanks so much for this comment Anne. I’m drawn to how you’ve taken belief and woven it into doing. This is a powerful thought for me right now – in what that really means.

@Stacey Shipman – Great point — it can seem like when we see someone who “appears” to have “made it” overnight – what we’re really seeing it the byproduct of much time spent preparing for this moment. And this example also shows just how it can take a long time to get there. Persevere!

@suZen – I love the comparison – we’re not going to become Bach overnight. It’s going to take lots of preparation to get to excellence. The key, like Dayflyer mentioned above, is to know when enough is enough when it comes to preparation – and when it time for the “big game” – whatever that is. Your thoughts are very much appreciated, SuZen – I’m glad you’re here as well!

@Mark Salinas – Patience is a big challenge for many. Especially, this is noticeable when we are in those prep hours, and they seem long – and our patience is wearing thin. Yet, if we keep going, when we get to whatever the “big game” is for us – we’ll be ready! And yes, I think this is about expanding the comfort zone. Great stuff you continue to share Mark – very happy I could link back to your post – excellent!

@Audra – Hi Audra! Pace is important. If we take off too fast – we run the risk of getting burned out before we finish the preparations. And if we go too slow – we could lose interest in whatever it is we’re going after – because we’re not seeing any progress. Your workshop sounds like an incredible event! Would love to hear more about it!

@Robin – Hi Robin. Teachers are a great example of those who do a lot of prep work – and work that can pay off very much with rewards well beyond a paycheck – in knowing your efforts are making the difference in the life of a student. Powerful thoughts! And preparing for holiday – I like it!!!

@Diane – Thank you, Diane! Our mind is powerful – as Napoleon Hill knew well.

@Laurie – Laurie, thanks so much for sharing this personal example of the importance of preparation! I know you did well – and I’m excited for you! I think that’s awesome!! With all your planning for this, you not only looked like an expert presenter – you are Laurie! “You are who you choose to be” – you chose beautifully this week, my friend!

@Daphne – Daphne, you creative mind always, always brings a smile to my face – and I just find it so impressive how you “create” – here today – and also many other times that I’ve seen on your site. Thank you for this!! And yes, I did change my email icon – thanks for noticing! I never really like the envelope I had before – I just didn’t have anything better. Then I found this icon – and I just really liked it much more than the plain old envelope from before. Thank you, again, Daphne, for all of this tonight!

@Liara – Thank you, Liara!

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Evelyn Lim February 25, 2009 at 10:09 pm

I am a firm believer in preparation. I don’t like the idea of leaving things to the last minute. It’s an important skill that I have learnt and applied since my school days. Without proper planning, I am not sure if I can make it through my exams. Managing a household now also makes preparation an important key to having a sane life, balanced with work and other priorities.

Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Play The Wishing Game?

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Sagan February 25, 2009 at 10:19 pm

This is just the kind of stuff we learn about in aikido… amazing how its all so integral to simply living life.

Sagan´s last blog post..Happy Birthday, Living Healthy in the Real World!

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Patricia February 25, 2009 at 10:30 pm

I worked night and day getting ready for my workshops in Hawaii last October. I was so prepared. Of the 98 signed up 11 attended and then they talked all the way through and laughed and did not attend to anything I was sharing – giving them more than their money’s worth. I finally quit, sat down and put the workshop handouts together with paper clips and handed them out – they had only hired me as a work excuse to get together and play in Hawaii. I felt so defeated – then got bedbug bites, and pneumonia and came home discouraged.

I look back now and that was just the preparation for nearly 30 of my blog posts, and it provided the funds I needed to pay some IT folks to assist me in set up and getting my Internet connections solved.

Now I feel really happy with all that preparation….
I am not a very good “just do it” person.
Thank you once again for such good words…and posts

Patricia´s last blog post..Just Three Little Things

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Vincent February 26, 2009 at 1:19 am

Hi Lance,

Preparation is always important. If we did not sharpen the saw before sawing, we may spend double or triple the amount of time needed. Great tips!

Cheers
Vincent
Personal Development Blogger

Vincent´s last blog post..Is Your Pride Hindering Your Growth?

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Jocelyn of ITAKEOFFTHEMASK February 26, 2009 at 1:33 am

That’s so true. Most of what’s required for success in our preparation. Sometimes we see people reaping an overnight success and all we could think about was that final night. We weren’t able to think about the years those people have been prepared for that night. 🙂

Jocelyn of ITAKEOFFTHEMASK´s last blog post..Money Tips 02.26.09

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Lance February 26, 2009 at 5:35 am

@Evelyn – Hey, I think we’re alike! I don’t like to wait until the last minute, either. Especially in unfamiliar settings. And, it applies to all areas of our life – not just one particular project, or part of our life. Great point Evelyn!

@Sagan – Aikido, like any sport – requires preparation to really be ready. The key, and I’m guessing this is part of it with aikido, is applying it to your life outside of class, as well. And that is a great skill to have! Thanks Sagan.

@Patricia – Thank you for sharing your story Patricia. This is a great example of something that appeared as “bad”, turning into something “good”. And what’s also interesting about this is that you prepared to get ready for the workshop, and yet in the end – the workshop itself became part of the preparation for something later on – unbeknown to you at the time – all the additions to your blog. And I think there’s a lesson in there for all of us. Things aren’t always as they appear. What might seem like defeat, could indeed be preparation for something bigger, or something different. As long as we’re open to it. So, I love this story. It helps to remind me, when I get discouraged, that maybe this is part of something bigger – if I’ll only be open to the idea… Thank so much for this today Patricia!

@Vincent – Great point about sharpening the saw – and how a little up front preparation will help us down the road. Great to have you here today!

@Jocelyn – Yes, thank you Jocelyn! We see someone be successful – and probably don’t always realize all the hard work that went into getting to that point. We see the now – the end result – that really took much preparation to get ready…

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Bri February 26, 2009 at 9:46 am

Hi Lance!

I agree with Jannie and Arswino that this is one of your best posts. For me personally, it reminds me not to be discouraged in those long hours when it seems like nothing is getting done. It’s so easy to give up at that point, but it’s all part of the journey.

I think Ian had a great point too, about preparing for the destination as well. It’s so easy to focus on getting something off the ground while forgetting that the end result needs just as much preparation.

Thanks. 🙂 This is such a great blog.

Bri´s last blog post..9 Reasons to Eat Local

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Robin Easton February 26, 2009 at 11:06 am

Hi dear Lance, This is so clear and well written. I relate to all of this but have not really thought it out this clearly. All my friends and my husband tell me I have great focus and “stick to it-tiveness” Something I have learned, which you mention here, is that I do the things I LOVE. In that way even the “work” parts or preparation of it have a greater passion and purpose so I don’t mind them so much. For example: I love writing but then there is editing. but because I love writing so much it makes the editing worth doing. And now, I have grown to love the editing process; I thrive in it. I also tend to go into everything I do with a sense of determination and commitment. Where I don’t give up at the slightest setback or even HUGE setbacks. I commit to my project through thick and thin and learn and adjust as I go. I guess it’s larger than that. It’s really about committing to Life itself, and not just when things are going smoothly. It doesn’t mean we can’t change and adapt our plan as we go; we can. But that we don’t let adversity, setback, rejections, etc. stop us from achieving our dreams.

I love how you inspire me! I’m laughing because I just told myself, “Okay Robin, stop there before you take up all of Lance’s comment space. 🙂 🙂
Hugs to you my very good friend. Robin

Robin Easton´s last blog post..Goodbye Old Friend

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Melinda February 26, 2009 at 3:18 pm

What a great piece. Preparation is one of the most important ingredients for success, I think. Preparation gives us some time to focus on our plan–of what we hope to accomplish–of what we hope to learn. I also believe that after we have finished a task or project that we should sit back and reflect on what we have accomplished as well.

Melinda

Melinda´s last blog post..Twenty-Five Random Things About Melindaville

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Barbara Swafford February 27, 2009 at 1:24 am

Hi Lance – This is a great reminder that in order to succeed we have to get ourselves ready for it. It certainly doesn’t just happen. That might be why those who do have success in their lives, aren’t surprised when it happens. They saw it coming.

Barbara Swafford´s last blog post..Like Bees on Honey – Learn to Attract Comments to Your Blog

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Davina February 27, 2009 at 2:57 am

Hi Lance. This was incredibly inspiring! I’d like to add one more item to your list to prepare ourselves for success… read The Jungle of Life 🙂

Davina´s last blog post..Benefits Of Turning Off Comments

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Lance February 28, 2009 at 5:15 am

@Bri – Thanks much Bri! Yes, the journey… an important point to remember. And, I too really liked Ian’s thoughts on all of this too. Great discussions!

@Robin Easton – Hi Robin! I love the word “stick to it-tiveness”! Love brings passion, and passion brings us purpose in what we do — Robin, you are one of the most passionate people I have encountered, and that passion you have is contagious! Are dreams ARE achievable, yes indeed! And you give me hope that so much in this world is achievable. Use all the comment space you need Robin, your words inspire me and everyone who reads them! Many hugs back to you!

@Melinda – While preparation is important, you bring up another excellent point Melinda. The importance of reflection after something is done. This gives us a chance to look at it objectively, and see what worked and what didn’t. Great stuff to do – thanks Melinda!

@Barbara – Yes, those who are successful, especially consistently successful – are not surprised because they’ve worked hard to get there. Others might only see the end result and think success came easily. In most cases, that’s not how it has worked. Thanks Barbara!

@Davina – Oh Davina…you are way, way, way too kind! And you’ve put a great big smile on my face this morning! You’re awesome!!

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brandi February 28, 2009 at 8:30 am

this resonates so deeply with what’s going on my journey right now as I prepare to grow my art business.

I love this post. YES

brandi´s last blog post..gorgeousness

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Nathalie Lussier February 28, 2009 at 1:00 pm

This is so awesome Lance! As you know, I’m working on my new focusiness for introducing raw foods as a practical way of life. I’ve been doing a lot of prep for it, and sometimes it feels like I’m not yet moving forward. But your post reminded me that there are benefits in preparation as much as there are in just putting yourself out there.

Thanks so much!

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Lance February 28, 2009 at 10:06 pm

@Brandi – Keep at it Brandi, the preparation WILL yield the rewards! And…I’m looking forward to where your art business is going – very exciting!

@Nathalie – Thanks much, Nathalie! I love that word – focusiness – and it fits so well here with the idea of focusing when we’re preparing. And look at your new site, Raw Food Switch, a great example as I’m sure it didn’t just happen overnight. I’m guessing there were lots of hours that went into planning it out before you put yourself “out there”. And, it looks great – that’s not something that just “happens”…. A great example of this Nathalie – you’ve shown!

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suddenly slimmer March 1, 2009 at 5:57 am

Maybe it’s a little bit late than others, I checked your sunday thought for the day as usual..but this article attracted to me most. “It’s not always fun. In fact, sometimes the hours may seem long. And it might not feel like you’re making any progress. Yet, success comes from preparation. The hours you spend preparing make for more positive, more uplifting, more successful hours in the time when it counts.” I think this could be my quote to start my week again tomorrow..

suddenly slimmer´s last blog post..Bring The Sexy Back

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Lance March 2, 2009 at 3:25 am

@Suddenly Slimmer – Hi Alia! Thank you, so much, for quoting what you did – you are making my day today! Have a great week ahead!

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Carla March 4, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Preparation is my weak points. This is one thing I definitely have to work on before jumping into a project at work or with business. It seems it takes me much longer to complete something if I don’t prep well (or at all) before diving into it.

Carla´s last blog post..Is it too late?

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Lance March 5, 2009 at 5:18 am

Hi Carla. Depending on what the task is, preparation is a weak point for me, as well. And that’s a great point – not preparing – while this might seem to get us to the project faster – usually means a longer process – because we’re just not fully ready for it. Great point Carla!

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