Ready or prepared?

One of the most important distinctions that adults need to understand is the difference between being ready and being prepared. Most waste their entire life “getting ready” for the right moment, the right opportunity, and the right whatnot, only to realize that they’ve spent a big part of their lifetimes just “getting ready” for something.

I can tell you from experience that getting ready is a terrible mindset. You won’t ever be prepared if you care enough about the outcome. Nor will you ever feel fulfilled. What separates the most accomplished from the rest is that they know this and act accordingly. How? Instead of worrying about their readiness, they plan and start preparing for the end goal.

Wait. Isn’t that the same thing? No, they’re not. One undergoes a preparation phase before they can feel ready to tackle whatever they were working towards. For example, if there’s a powerlifting competition in December of any given year, a competitor will spend anywhere between 3-6 months preparing for the event. And they will time their peaks right around the time of the competition, so they feel ready for it.

And despite all that preparation, not everyone becomes a world champion. Some win, most lose, but those who don’t make it still get a high, as they have beaten their previous records more often than not. Thanks to all the prep work that went into training leading to the event.

That’s the mindset we need to embrace if we wish to accomplish anything significant. We can plan a phase of preparation leading either to an event or an opportunity or just a personal milestone. Once you’ve completed a preparation cycle, you either start over or work on other things. If a related opportunity comes up later, you can latch onto it owing to all the prep work you’ve already put into it.

Would you feel ready enough to knock it out of the park? Maybe you will. Perhaps you won’t. But that matters a lot less than your confidence in what you know (the fundamentals) and what you have already worked for (experience) to take a confident crack at the opportunity.

Nobody ever feels ready when presented with an opportunity. I remember how I had felt when I was asked to step up to lead the marketing efforts of a non-profit organization. Terrible! I was a lowly but very active volunteer who’s led efforts locally, and now I was asked to hop on the state-level (and then national) initiatives!

Was I ready? Hell, no! Did I do it anyway? Yes, as best as I could. Because I had been preparing for the opportunity for ages, and when it came knocking at my door, I didn’t want to say, “I’m not ready.” I wasn’t perfect at what I did, but I did become damn good eventually, and that’s the story of everyone who’s stepped up despite how “ready” they felt before starting.

Stop wasting your energy worrying about how “ready” you are. Focus on preparation and if an opportunity comes through, go for it. Overanalyzing is a waste of time.

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