Everyday is preparation for something yet to come. I come from a family that has several members who had illustrious military careers, including my grandfather, who was a decorated World War II Veteran and my uncle who is a decorated Tuskegee Airman. I’ve been taught a great deal about being prepared. When I was in high school ROTC, I learned that “pissed-poor preparedness, results in pissed-poor results”. Preparedness in the military teaches you to be ready, specifically, for battle. But that’s not the only thing it can prepare a person for. Many people who have had military careers and experience also become valuable leaders. Leaders are prepared.
I decided to amp up my workout routine recently, in preparation for the Opera Ball that I’m attending on October 2nd and for a cruise I’m going on early next year. My workout is HARD; however, I’ve already seen results. Mark England is designing my dress for the Opera Ball and has to alter its size by about four inches. That’s a reduction in my dress size in only about four weeks. In addition to my weight loss, I have to prepare for that upcoming black tie event in other ways. I had to select my make up palette, shoes, handbag and jewelry to compliment the dress, even though I had yet to see the finished product. This meant that shopping had to be done, appointments had to be made, and orders had to be placed. I don’t have an assistant (yet) so those preparations had to be done by me. For the cruise early next year, I’m already considering what other preparations I need to make so that I will have an enjoyable trip, outside of what clothes to pack and how many swimsuits I will need. I need to purchase my airfare, reserve my hotel in South Beach, arrange for my car service to and from the airport both here and in Miami, decide how best to get to the Port-au-Miami from South Beach for the cruise itself, which night clubs I want to be guest-listed on, etc. Those preparations are not ones I want to leave for the last minute because other situations could arise that would distract me. When traveling I like to be able to relax once the date of departure arrives. In order to maintain that Zen-like feeling I get when I travel, I will need to be prepared in advance. I also need to consider the possibilities (such as airplane delays) and have mental plans of action at my disposal for those possibilities.
That’s how life is. Those who are prepared for the inevitable possibilities can relax and better handle what comes their way, whereas, people who procrastinate or fail to evaluate situations are often left unprepared, confused and miss out on opportunities. We prepare our children for their future by providing them with educational opportunities when they are young. We hope they pay attention to what they learn in school, so that they are prepared for what they may encounter during their college years. We all prepare for work each day, either by checking our schedules and emails, meditating, exercising, reading business articles or whatever your daily routine is. It’s how you prepare. It determines the initial response you will have to whatever interactions you are involved in. We plan and pray for the best, but prepare for the worst. Murphy’s Law states, “That anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. However, if you prepare yourself, even the situations that are “wrong” can turn into something “right”.
Having faced a layoff earlier this year, what I thought was terribly wrong in my life would have been a lot worse if I had not had a level of preparedness. I keep my resume updated, I have marketable skills, I had rainy day money in my 401k and my faith is stronger than I am. I had even decided what I’d do while I was laid off. That wrong turned a promotion and a raise to replace the position I was being laid off from. That wrong became a right, even though I wasn’t expecting it, I had preparations in place. The end result was completely unforeseen.
Being prepared doesn’t require that you know in advance what the end result will be. It only requires that you do your best to develop a contingency plane for the events that may be out of your control, but controlled by you after they occur. How you react to and evaluate a situation, and how much energy you exert, are all within your personal control, regardless of the situation. It helps to have an awareness of a situation in advance, but that’s not possible the majority of the time. The only thing you can do is be ready for the possibilities, the changes, and the choices. This can not be accomplished by sitting in the background to see what others will do. This can not be accomplished by crossing your fingers and hoping the issue will go away. This can not be accomplished by “just praying about it”. After all, faith without works is dead and we’re given free will to make decisions for a reason. Therefore, you have to be prepared.
Of course, no one can ever be prepared for every instance in life, but it serves each of us best to make an attempt to be prepared, more than it does not to.