Preparation. Don’t always know how I feel about this word, but that has little to do with the importance and weight this can play in our lives. Interestingly, the amount of preparation given to an upcoming “something” often times is directly related to the enjoyment or survival of said something.
The all-knowing and ever authoritative Webster’s Dictionary describes preparation as, “The action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration. Something done to get ready for an event or undertaking.” Depending on the context, preparation can be an enjoyable act or (more often than not) it can mean a lot of work, effort, and delayed gratification.
Lately I’ve given a lot of thought and attention to the notion of preparation. In my world, with the transition of the seasons tends to come a lot of to-do items to get ready for the next. Winter is coming, which means the recent days have been filled with pre-winter chores. Think raking leaves so as not to have a pile of buried slimy yuck to deal with in the spring. Or carrying and putting away all the outdoor furniture (think 5 patio sets, over two dozen Adirondack chairs, multiple fire pits, several grills, a mess of hoses and what-nots, etc) in order to make shoveling the soon-to-arrive snow less obstacle laden. If these things are not done, and done in a timely manner while the window of opportunity to do so is still open, there is a price to be paid later on down the road. And it is not pretty.
There are so many things in life that require preparation, that deserve the “making ready or being made ready.” We prepare for tax time, getting organized in order to file properly. A pregnant soon-to-be mom has nine months to prepare for the little mini to come and all that that new arrival will entail. Nursery, supplies, family notifications, financial planning, etc. An athlete trains and prepares their body for an event through physical training, emotional training, and nutritional preparation. Students prepare for exams. Authors research and carve out time to create. Farmers prep and plant. Brides prepare themselves for their groom and all the things that go into “the big day.” Emergency crews prepare for storms, fires, and disasters. Construction companies plan with blueprints. Families prepare for holiday meals, tricky travel schedules, and family fun festivities. There’s definitely preparation involved in getting ready for a date (or the planning of one.) Birthday parties for loved ones don’t plan themselves. And if you live in my world, there’s definitely preparation for the different seasons.
But what happens if you don’t? What happens if the preparation process is ignored? After all, so often times the doing and prepping part is tedious, long, and for the time being, reward-less. Is it worth it? Is that something even worth it?
Ask anyone who has been caught unprepared. Ask the student who didn’t study. Ask the competitor who didn’t train. Ask the author who didn’t edit. Ask the person who didn’t file on time or the date that didn’t shower and show up on time. Or ask the loved one who went uncelebrated on their birthday. The finish line does not get crossed and the reward is not enjoyed. If there’s no preparation and planning, there’s no meal for the Thanksgiving family feast, no home built for the waiting homeowner, no big day for the excited bride, no hospital supplies or ambulance ride for the hurt, no nursery, and no degree. There’s no success.
This thought keeps rolling around in the back of my mind. There are times in my life where I definitely would’ve prepared for a situation differently. Preparation and procrastination tend to battle each other in my world. Sometimes I don’t always know exactly what’s coming next or exactly what I’m preparing for, but I don’t want to be the one that’s not ready for what God has next or coming later on down the road. Eventually, “down the road” does come whether we’re ready for it or not. I want to be ready for the good stuff. Lined up for the reward. Or at the very least avoid any avoidable or potential disasters. That’s a reward in and of itself. And don’t we enjoy it when we’re the beneficiary of someone else’s prep and planning? Oh how I love to be the recipient of someone’s preparation, thoughtfulness, and forethought!
Without preparation, there’s no reward. For anyone. Keep this in mind next time you don’t feel like doing the deed or facing the task that you know you need to do. The extra effort is worth it. Promise. Sometimes the window of opportunity is small. Don’t miss it.
QUOTABLE QUOTES FROM PEOPLE MUCH SMARTER THAN MYSELF:
- “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
- “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” – Bobby Unser
- “There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation – veneer isn’t worth anything.” – George Washington Carver
“The best preparation for tomorrow is to do today’s work superbly well.“ – William Osler
- “Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.” – Robert H. Schuller
Ashlee Bratton is a professional photographer, freelance writer, and inspiring speaker with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and master’s degree in business administration.
Along with completing 29 of the 30 things on her 30×30 list, her writing contributions include numerous publications such as Vail’s EAT magazine, creating a 56 page Visitor Guide for a mountain ski town, blogging and guest blogging, being featured in multiple newspapers and e-zines, and various other projects.
Currently, she keeps her camera in hand in Southern Colorado, is a complete and total foodie, and takes plane rides for fun. She likes things that go.