Remember the Boy Scout motto: “Be prepared”? That seems to be a good maxim to remember in today’s troubled economic times. The problems each of us faces can seem insurmountable… and we wonder if others are suffering as we are, wrapped up in our own struggles.
However, there are those of us who might be asking the question, “What part do I have in my problems? How have I contributed to them? Better still, what can I do to surmount them? The more aware you become of your own power, the more you will ask questions like these. And the more the answers will come to you.
Yes, you do have a part in your problems and you have contributed to them. Maybe you did not create the economic conditions that may be causing you stress, but the choices you’ve made along the way and the choices you make today continue to keep you locked into the particular issues you’re facing.
Remember, you have the power. You, and nobody else, are in control of your problems and your happiness and success. Nobody else can take away your problems. Nobody else can make you happy or successful. All you have is what you bring with you. Your thoughts, your ideas, your knowledge, your experience, your education, your choices–and your preparation.
Yes, I believe there’s great power in being prepared. Prepared for the trials as well as the triumphs. You prepare for the triumphs by asking, “What’s the best that could happen?” And you prepare for the trials by asking, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Then you start learning and doing.
For example, few of us were brought up in homes where money was talked about comfortably. We had no idea what our parents’ financial situation was, where they invested money, or how much they were worth. By the time we were 16 or 18 when we had our first job, we had to pretty much start figuring it out on our own. Initially, we spent everything we earned. Some of us may have had to save for college. But few of us saved much or invested our money.
Hopefully, by the time we were married, we started learning about saving, spending, and investing. We attended classes, read books, or asked friends. We took risks, made mistakes, and some of us even made money. If we were lucky enough to start preparing early for our future, we would not be as troubled by these difficult economic times as some people are.
So, in this case, being prepared involved getting educated and taking appropriate actions. It also involves taking risks, learning from mistakes, and doing more of what works. Finally– and this is the one that we often overlook or get lazy about– being prepared is about practicing good maintenance. That means ongoing education as well as tracking and revising our strategies when necessary.
In what other areas of your life can you see how being prepared can make a difference between stress and success? Certainly in becoming a parent. Most expecting parents do a lot of preparation, maybe even taking classes, reading books, and talking to other parents. The more prepared couples are, the more they will feel ready and able to shape their children’s lives. Of course, these precious gifts have their own agendas to work through… but the power in being prepared will allow parents to do the best job they can in handling all the challenges that child rearing may present.
I also work with my coaching clients in being prepared when it comes to their careers or businesses. Yes, we can ask, “What’s the worst that can happen?,” and therefore be prepared to face the inevitable problems that arise. But being prepared also means setting goals, making plans, taking actions, testing results, getting support, and celebrating wins. Great preparation often makes the difference between business success and failure.
The power in being prepared lies in taking responsibility for your happiness, utilizing all the tools available to you, and staying focused on the essentials. What do you need to do today to make your life the best it can be?