Just Thinking Is Not PreparationAuthor: Byron Pulsifer
"Are you ready?"
"I was waiting for you."
"You knew I was coming to help so I thought you would have everything ready to go."
"I did not get that far yet."
I don't know if you've ever agreed to help someone with a project who desperately needed your help but who hadn't done one thing to be prepared? How frustrating. You would probably be no different than I was - not to be ready is all part of planning and preparation.
Some people assume, falsely, that just thinking about a project is not actually planning unless there are steps laid out as in the form of a plan. A plan means that you have not only thought about the project but that you have a list of steps that must be followed in order to accomplish the task at hand.
I was recently asked to help a friend complete an outdoor deck. The first part of this project meant that we would have to tear the old one down, or, repair it before we could extend it. The project wasn't that difficult so I was happy to be of assistance. Since I was over some thirty miles away, and didn't have all day to spend at the site, I had let it be known that I would be there at a specific time and that we needed to get started right away.
But, when I arrived at the stipulated time armed with all the tools I would need, I found him sitting at the kitchen table eating his breakfast. I at first thought that he had already been around the back to the deck and had all his tools there including his chop saw, sledge hammer, extension cords, pry bars and the wood we would need. I was wrong.
Not only had he not retrieved his tools, he hadn't even bothered to get the wood I had asked him to. When I asked him why he was not ready when I had told him when I would be there and what we would need, he said that he had thought about it but just didn't get around to it.
Wow! I was some put off. It is one thing not to know what is needed when you start because you have no familiarity with what is required for a project but it is quite another to know and not to do one thing to get ready.
You cannot move forward in any project, or task, career, relationship or changing a habit unless you plan. And, preparation is not the end but only the beginning. Planning is crucial but if you do not take steps over and over again constantly moving the yardsticks forward like a football team, you will not accomplish anything. You cannot wait for someone else to take ownership for your actions - you have to do it yourself. There is no easy way just the right way.
So, how did the project turn out? Great. But, what was learned during the project?
During the course of this project, and with gentle but pointed reminders and coaching, he learned more about planning ahead than actually doing. But, I wasn't disappointed with this approach because planning to do what comes next is a vital step in reaching any desired end whether that is a goal you have set for yourself or a project or task that you must complete at work.
Each time you prepare from the start to the finish, you can do so by visualizing the complete process in your mind. These visualization skills that you develop can apply from everything like a project at work to doing a home based plumbing job.
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