Alexander Graham Bell said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Makes perfect sense right? I have learned that the more I take the time to prepare, the better the outcome. The opposite is also true if I act impulsively (which trust me I do more than I should), the project takes longer and is more expensive!
So what does this have to do with trimming a tree?
You see I am the Captain on a fire engine and we don’t just respond to fire calls. We help people when they have exceeded their ability to handle their problems. If you can imagine a problem, I am confident that the fire department has been called to try and fix that problem.
Which is what happened the other day while I was working when we received a call to respond to a “fall.”
When we arrived at the address, we noticed a ladder was on a fence, gentlemen waiting for us, and a chainsaw hanging in a tree.
Yes, that is correct a chainsaw hanging in the tree.
The patient was on the ladder which was on the extremely uneven ground. The ladder was not secure, and it slid while the patient fell off and broke his leg. Fortunately, the patient was awake, talking to us, and after some new hardware in his broken leg, he should be ok. After we loaded him up in the ambulance, we then had to figure out how to get the chainsaw down from the tree. So we placed the ladder on the tree, had a person hold the ladder and one of my firefighters climbed to the chainsaw and safely removed it from the tree.
After we had got back to the fire station, I began thinking what an appropriate metaphor that call was for so many things currently going on in my life right now. I started to recall of all the fails in my life when I didn’t take the time to prepare. And since I am here for you, here are three steps that you can start doing immediately to prepare yourself for just about anything.
Step 1: Write it Down
Whether you are thinking about painting a room, having a serious conversation (boss, child, significant other, co-worker), planning your week, or setting goals for yourself. Taking a few moments to write down what you want to do, say, feel, or cook gives you the opportunity to pre-plan, clear your brain, and provide you with confidence. Here is a great article that lists six benefits of how writing changes your life.
I have always been a pen and paper kind of gal. When I started my first journal, I was 14, and I got my first DayTimer planner in high school. I have tried to be high tech and put all my plans on my phone, but that never felt right (no pun intended) to me! For 2017 I bought my first bullet journal, which I have LOVED. I get to write everything down, doodle, checklists, parenting time schedules, color, habit tracker, and on and on.
The other benefit of writing your plan of attack is that you can look back after the project is complete and compare to the result, see how far you have come, and make sure you didn’t forget anything.
Step 2: Visualize
This action is powerful! I first learned about the power of visualization a long time ago when I played basketball. An outstanding coach walked us through exercises to help us visualize free throws. I have been using this fantastic tool ever since because it works, As John Kehoe says “what you visualize, you attract” so why wouldn’t you take the time to put your brain through a dress rehearsal of what you are planning?
Each time I have to make a presentation to a group of people I visualize every step. From picking out my clothes to the nervous pee right before I speak and the delivery of the speech! For me, visualization lowers my anxiety. My brain is relaxed since I have gone over the statement a few times. Matthew from the Complete Guide to Archery created this outstanding article on visualization.
When I was struggling in my unhealthy marriage, I would lay in bed at night and visualize what my life would look like post-divorce. I was terrified to go through another divorce and the difficult process of rebuilding my life. I have noticed that doors begin to open up because:
Your thoughts become your intentions
- Intentions become your actions
- Actions become your reality
For more information on visualization, you can check out John Kehoe’s website here.
Step 3: Practice
I grew up with the mantra that it is not just practice makes perfect, PERFECT practice makes perfect. But you might be thinking what “perfect” practice is? How do I know if what I am doing is even the correct way to do something? All valid questions and thoughts, so here is what I have learned to be true. Perfect is subjective, what I think is perfect may not be the same perfection that you see. My point is perfect practice makes perfect is that you need to practice to what YOUR perfection is. Does that make sense?
I love CrossFit; I have been doing CrossFit for seven years. If you are not familiar with this type of fitness, you can check it out here. You may be thinking that I am one fit mama that does handstand walks, lifts a crazy amount of weight, and has a killer body.
My reality is that I am strong and fit. I don’t have six-pack abs, I can’t-do most crazy movements, and I only recently completed my first competition. But 3-4 times a week I workout with an incredible group of individuals so do my job and be a positive role model to my son. That is my idea of perfect practices makes perfect.
Bringing it all together
One of my all-time favorite speakers, Gordon Graham says “If it is predictable, it is preventable.” I have found this to be true in several areas of life. But specifically to the times, I didn’t adequately prepare.
My blog is a perfect example of these steps. I have dreamed of writing for most of my life. Unfortunately, I was always too scared to leap. I have played it relatively safe and have worked in the same place for almost 18 years. When I bought my domain years ago, I began making my plan and finally got the courage to take a course on how to blog a few months ago.
I have prepared to make this adventure through writing my plan, lots of visualization, and practice. I’m finding that I am somewhere between excited and terrified, leaning more towards the latter. But I have so many experiences to share, and I am happy to meet amazing women to share this journey.
Remember, it is easier to prepare.
What can you start preparing to do today? Or this weekend? Is there a project, task or decision that you need to do but feel overwhelmed? Try writing it down, visualizing, and practicing. And please share! I want to hear from you.