Preparation Is Your Secret Sauce

We have a couple of weeks until the start of our Fall Semester. It’s GO time!

This is an exciting time of year in the life of student leadership. Our student leaders are arriving on campus a few days before everyone else to get everything ready. It’s time to put our plans into action. It’s time to see how all of our preparation pays off.

photo credit: atmtx via photopin cc

photo credit: atmtx via photopin cc

When you’re properly prepared, you are better able to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. You have a much better shot at doing excellent work. When you aren’t prepared, you can’t see the opportunities because you’re just trying to do enough to get by.

Here’s a few general suggestions of ways student leaders can begin to prepare for the new year:

1. Prepare your head – Know what’s going on around you. Know the people on your team. Get crystal clear about your schedule, your responsibilities, and your commitments.

2. Prepare your heart – Decide to have a positive attitude. Think about how you will connect with others. Make sure you have scheduled time for rest and reflection.

3. Prepare your work – Get your stuff done. Get it done early and you’ll have more time to be creative. Find ways to tap into the excitement of others and get them involved right at the start of the school year.

Preparation is anticipation – think ahead. Abraham Lincoln said, “I will prepare and someday my chance will come.”

What happens when you don’t take the time to prepare?

You may be in charge of leading a small group of students, getting ready for an activity, or organizing a roster of clubs. Throughout the week your schedule overwhelms you and you find yourself scrambling to even show up. You quickly skim your responsibilities and rush into each situation, hoping to make the best of it. These kinds of things happen. But if they happen all the time, you fail in a few areas:

1. You show a lack of respect.

Your time is important, but so is the time of others. The old saying goes, “When you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” Every moment spent in preparation will show others that you value both them and their time.

2. You miss opportunities.

When you’re prepared, it provides more options for you. You have a greater awareness of what’s going on around you because you aren’t as focused on the things you weren’t ready for. Plus, preparation allows you to be more creative.

3. You do not grow.

Lack of preparation forces you to fall back into old habits or familiar ways of doing things. When you prepare, you open yourself up to new ideas and new opportunities. Preparation often involves practice. When you practice properly, you improve.

You might get away with a lack of preparation once or twice. But over time, it will begin to show. Preparation is your secret sauce. Invest in your preparation and you’ll be amazed at how much better you and your work become.

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