“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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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!