My Big Honest Post About Preparation, and How to Master It.
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
~ Abraham Lincoln ~
- Honesty. (Honest Abe Would Be Proud.)
- My 3 Step Preparation Process.
- Sharpen Your Axe.
When I started writing this blog post, I one-hundred percent sucked at preparation.
To coin a term, my suckitude was not out of laziness, nor an unwillingness to try, rather, being stuck in not knowing how. And to be perfectly frank, the how doesn't matter in the beginning. What matters is that either —
A - I figure out my own strategy. Meaning, as long as it's useful and works for me, I can take advantage of it. And build and improve upon it as I go.
B - Use The Wisdom of the Ages. We are in a unique period of history where we have thousands of years of wisdom and knowledge in our hands. (literally - pull out your phone and you can search for just about anything you want to learn!) The best way to use this to our advantage is to learn from the wisdom of those that have come before us much as possible, and apply it to our own life - keeping what works, removing what doesn't. Experimenting our way to our own strategy, by learning from the best.
The main idea of preparation is putting in the effort up upfront, so that when the time comes, we are calm and ready to perform our best. We're not scrambling, nor worried or stressed. We have a clear understanding of what we want to do, we have intent on what needs to be done - taking action before we have to - and staying flexible when life hits us hard.
Mastering Preparation begins with conquering procrastination. It can be so(ooooo) easy to let opportunities slide by inaction.
The best way to deal with procrastination is to be present and honest with yourself - who you are, where you are, where you want to go, and why.
If you feel reluctant to do something, figure out why. Focus on taking a small step towards working on it (presence), while keeping in mind the potential outcome if you do it (a positive reward / achievement).
Push through - once you start , momentum will help you keep going.
Preparation is putting in the work now - before you need to - so that when the time comes, your effort will push you further than you can imagine.
"I now know more than ever that preparation is the key to success"
~ Alexander Graham Bell ~
My 3 Step Preparation Process.
1. Have a Good Think. (Clarity)
Sit down and give yourself some time to plan and prepare.
However long it takes, it will be completely worth it, because by taking time to prepare, you will be more ready and able to complete what you desire to do, and to do so effectively.
Action Step: Grab some paper and a pen. Give yourself at least 20 minutes to hash things out. (or as long as you can. "...Man that was a great 20 minute planning sesh!" "Uh... dude, you've been sitting there for 3 days, not 20 minutes..." "What the Hey!!! [endscene])
Go on, have a good think.
2. Break it down. (Intention)
Take your big goals and break them down into byte-sized subgoals. Think of each subgoal as a mile marker (and milestone) on your journey.
Break what you want to do down to it's essence. By getting down to the essence of your goal- while keeping in mind the big picture - you are taking what seems to be a large, blurry, daunting idea of what you want, into small action steps you can focus on one at a time.
3. Tools of the trade.
You've heard it before, what gets measured gets managed.
But what's the best way to measure? The best way that works for you. (ugh lame josh.)
Physical Calendars, Google Cal, Apple Calendar, Evernote, Paper, Todoist.... Whatever you feel comfortable with and able to keep up with.
- Have a schedule of each goal. (Physical Calendar's are good because you have a limited amount of space - forcing you to plan your time wisely)
- Stick to your schedule as much as possible.
- Keep a journal / record of your progress. (Reflection is good. And you don't have to write a novel, a sentence or two will do. The idea is giving yourself feedback, so you can improve rapidly.)
- Have a list of what needs to be done (and when), but limit your access to only a few items on the list at a time.
example: A list of 30 separate things you have to do will be daunting, and leave you frustrated and overwhelmed. However, having a list of 30 but only allowing yourself to see one to three things from that list will be much more manageable!
Remember, to Master Preparation, you have to bring your A-game, well in advance. If you desire to accomplish something Big and BOLD (and crush it), put in the necessary time and hustle upfront.
Now go sharpen your Axe.