As we begin our trek today, imagine in your mind that we are facing a very narrow and steep uphill climb that does not look like it will be easy. There are some of you that may thrive on this challenge while others will be a bit more apprehensive about the obstacles that lie ahead of us. Which one are you? Are you more competitive by nature and love a good challenge? Do you desire to be out front leading our team, or would you rather be toward the back, content to follow after the trail has been forged and determined to be safe?
While I have observed that some people appear to be more competitive by nature, this competitiveness is based on the task that is to be completed. As an example, while I tend to be more of a risk taker and competitive sort, Paula is less so. I have found through experience, though, that given the right situations, Paula is very competitive. I rarely can claim victory at table games or games on the computer, for instance, as Paula’s competitive nature makes sure that she does her best to win.
On our trek today and in all areas of life, if we are going to reach at least some level of success, we need to have an internal drive. But, a much bigger factor is that we need to be prepared. Preparation in all areas of life is important. In fact, the will to prepare is more important than the will to succeed. We will never be successful if we do not prepare. When we refer to preparation, it is much more than “getting ready to get ready.” Preparation is the blood, sweat, and tears of hard work and focus that is required to achieve anything that is worthwhile in life.
Here are four ways to muster your will and get prepared for success on any trail on life’s trek.
1. Stay ready so there’s no getting ready.
If you work hard, remain consistent, and maintain a great attitude, you will see opportunities present themselves. Still, they often appear when you least expect them and not as soon as you wish. For this reason, it’s important to proactively prepare by anticipating the possibilities and consistently working to better yourself in all areas of life.
Proverbs 14:23, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work,” Thomas A. Edison.
2. Create a self-development routine.
In life or business, preparing to succeed means extracurricular learning. It’s the secret weapon for successful entrepreneurs and individuals that desire to succeed in life. This involves the discipline to focus on improving yourself outside of your “work” hours or normal routine be it reading/listening to leadership and self-improvement books or even a course to improve a particular hobby that you want to excel in. This action will separate those who have the will to succeed because they have the will to prepare.
“I will prepare and some day my chance will come,” Abraham Lincoln.
To ensure you’re on the right track, create a self-development routine. Decide what you will read/listen to, whom you will talk with, and how much time you will commit to the process. Start by doing one thing daily, no matter how big or small, to prepare for any opportunity that comes your way. The fact that you are taking the time to read these Wisdom Notes indicates that you already possess the will to prepare, so keep moving forward.
Having a structured plan of preparation is important as is mentioned in Proverbs 24:27, “Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.”
As a Christ follower, I also take the study of Scripture very important. The Apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to his protégé Timothy in Chapter 3 verses 16 and 17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
3. Undergo a self-evaluation.
As a person of influence (as everyone is to a certain extent), how much more knowledgeable and effective are you today than you were one year ago? If the truth is brutal, the blame can likely be attributed to a lack of preparation. Realize that the only way to get a positive answer next year is to actively prepare now.
Consider where you want to be as a person and leader next year. Then brainstorm on how to achieve this. Keep in mind where you have fallen short in the past and start making the necessary adjustments. Realize that everyone is a leader to some extent. Make sure you are a prepared leader, and then you will be a successful leader.
4. Seek a mentor or coach.
For nearly anything you want to accomplish, there’s someone out there who’s already achieved it. These individuals are valuable resources. Ask them to be a coach, adviser, or mentor to help you navigate your area of desired improvement. If and when they give you their time, make the most of it by asking prepared, insightful questions.
If you want to develop the will to succeed, make sure that you invest in succeeding now by developing the will to prepare before that trail of your life begins.
Even one of the greatest leaders of all time, in the Bible, Moses had a mentor in his father-in-law, Jethro. Jethro suggested a plan to help Moses better handle the mitigation of disputes within the nation of Israel in Exodus 18:24, “Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions.”
Even if you do not adhere to the same moral tenets as I do, it is important to study in the areas you want to improve. So, the four steps for success in any area of life are:
- Stay prepared.
- Continually improve yourself.
- Continually evaluate yourself.
- Listen to the advice of wise people in your life.
As we trek through life each day, practice these four steps and join us on our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy each weekday.