I once worked with a man in my past food experience who was the king of quick quotes about subjects which should have been obvious. When this man would whip out one of his one liners, it just left you thinking, “you know, he’s right.”. I remember thinking many times – “Does he sit around and think of these things to say, or is this just how his mind works all of the time?”
One of his more famous lines went like this…
Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
The alliteration offers a nice mental handle, right? If you analyze what is said in that statement you will probably come away with two conclusions. My first reaction when I heard it was that it was so true. I thought if people that I work with could just understand that, my job would be so much easier. Maybe it would, but there is something else I thought about when I heard that statement.
There are very few things which are true all of the time when it comes to thoughtful interpretation of results or the lack of results. This is because there are so many other factors which affect the final outcome of a situation.
Let’s look at a simple example of this to which everyone should be able to relate.
If you are like many people in the world, you are expected to be at work at a certain time. My time is self-imposed because I am a small business owner with a small staff, and I make the schedule. For instance, I have to be at work at 5:30 AM today to open up the shop and be ready for customers at 6:00. I thought about my schedule last night, and because I often go in to work at 5:30, I knew that my alarm needed to be set for 3:30 AM today. This allows me time to have a cup of coffee, have a quiet time in God’s word, and get a little bit of work done (writing on this blog post). At 4:30 I know that I need to get in the shower so that I can be ready to leave for work at 5:00.
The epitome of poor performance as an opener in this example is either not showing up on time and our business opening late or showing up like a zombie and being unable to complete even the smallest tasks related to your job in an efficient manner.
You could say that I prepared well for my job today, because I did follow a plan. This plan has proved effective in the past for getting me to work on time and preparing me for my day.
Fast Forward to 3:30 PM
I have put in my “on the shift time” at our coffee shop, and have returned to my spot on the love seat, where my day began. I am happy to report that my preparation for today proved to be effective and accomplished the goal of preventing poor performance. So, today the statement my friend used to mutter, usually to someone who had not prepared well, was proven to be accurate. Proper preparation prevents poor performance.
What About Those Other Times?
Sometimes, it seems like the deck is stacked against you, and no amount of preparation can thwart the downward spiral that is your day. Let me just be the person that says yes, this is going to happen. Sometimes you just need someone to sympathize with you and understand that you are struggling.
I sympathize with you. I understand your struggle. I have been there. I will be there again, and so will you.
Keep making the right decisions, over and over and over again, even when it doesn’t seem like it’s helping.
When you do the right thing, even at times when it doesn’t seem like it is paying off, and keep doing the right thing over and over again, eventually your efforts will come to fruition, and you will see success.
This does not mean that everything will go your way from that point forward. But it does mean that if you continue to keep your foot on the gas, doing the right things, when things are not going your way and when things are going so well you don’t know if you can stand any more business, blessings, or whatever is coming your way you will find yourself at a new level. Your lows, and your highs, will be higher.
Proper Preparation Requires Effort
It is so cliche to say, but it is so true. If what you are trying to accomplish was easy, everyone would be doing it and there would not be the opportunity for you to see success like what you are working toward. Small business owners, bloggers, and self-employed people often experience the same problem.
When you are trying to do something that not many people have done, you look to someone who has done it already. This is exactly what you should do. However, this also poses a problem. It is really hard to relate to someone who has already “made it” from your current position. From your perspective, everything they touch turns to gold. They have their life together, they have their business together, they are successful.
But they haven’t always been.
Any mentor who is worth their salt will tell you about the blood, sweat, and tears they have poured into their business to get to the level where they are. The problem most of us have is that we don’t believe them when they share about these hard times. All we can see is where they are now, or at least where we perceive they are now. But that is not the whole story, not even close. They have struggled like you are struggling. They may have struggled even more than you are struggling. After all, you are learning from them, and much of their advice is probably based on how they learned not to do things.
Remember to listen to your mentors, your heroes, when they talk about how hard the road was to get them where they are today.
Is proper preparation easy? No way! Is it worth it? Absolutely yes!
Is it worth it when things are going well? Yes, and this can be the hardest time to keep doing it! Is it worth it when things are tough? Absolutely! Just remember that if you keep doing the right thing, eventually you will find yourself at a whole new level. I have seen this happen in my own business and all throughout my working lifetime.
What if you’re stuck?
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