“Preparation doesn’t assure victory, it assures confidence.” ― Amit Kalantri
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who have a definite path from A to B; and then those who somehow zigzagged their way through all twenty-six letters before finally arriving at the destination. Folks who almost ALWAYS have a To-Do list; and individuals who simply wing it.
By now I think you can guess where I fall in.
From the time I could remember, my life was a series of constant changes I was never ready for. My family and I moved from the city to a suburban miles away when I was only nine. After that, I changed schools twice before we finally settled into a peaceful community.
But that wasn’t the end. After college, I had to switch between working and living with my mom abroad. It always felt as if I was being pushed into roles I wasn’t ready for. One day, I was helping coworkers on the production floor – next thing I knew, I was boarding a plane to Frankfurt.
But maybe none of this was coincidence. Perhaps the things we thought we’re not prepared for – like marriages, children, relocation, promotions – belonged to us, after all.
Ready or Not: Life’s Lemons Will Hit You
Whenever life throws you lemons, it’s not always as easy deciding you’ll make lemonade with them. In fact, there are other – if not better – options (lemon meringue cookies, anyone?). But the main question has always been: here’s a lemon, now what?
No matter your skill, talent, or experience, you won’t really be ready unless you’re actually doing it.
Just this year, I was invited to speak to more than a dozen young audiences about social media and online writing. To be honest, I didn’t want the task at first. I had other things in my mind, and I thought someone else would be more qualified for it.
But as luck would have it, no one else was available at that time. I did the presentation and practiced a few times (though not a lot, shame on me). In my head, I probably replayed scenes of me either a) choking on my words, or b) being asked a question I wasn’t prepared for. To sum it up: I was sort of hoping to be buried alive.
Come the day of the event, it didn’t turn out so bad. In fact, it was amazing! Being a last-minute resource speaker was definitely something I was NOT ready for – but this is one lemon I’m glad I took anyway.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ― Nelson Mandela
Parenting is another lemon that life likes to throw to its unwilling (at first) victims. Writer and parent Melanie Pinola for example, says: ‘no matter how many books, parenting forums, and Dr. Sears articles you read, nothing can completely prepare you for becoming a parent.’ I don’t find it odd that I’ve heard friends and my own parents say the same thing.
Believe it or not, even a promotion is something that most folks only think they’re ready for (but that their performance review would reflect otherwise). According to author and associate professor of management at Oral Roberts University David Burkus, some employees become incompetent once they are promoted. This phenomenon is known as the “The Peter Principle”.
This happens when workers get promoted to a position that is NOT aligned with their core strengths. Although some of these issues can be corrected with further training and development, most times, it’s not. It’s in these instances when the individuals concerned need to be honest and admit that perhaps, this is one decision they should’ve thought through first.
These are just a few of the beautiful yet frightening things that we can never truly be ready for. Like falling in love, taking exams, or speaking in public. It’s human nature to go over what could go wrong in your head. That’s why we prepare. Despite the nights of constant practice or studying though, life often still finds a way to surprise us.
Don’t Worry: You’re Ready
Okay: so if you can’t truly be ready for something, why bother preparing? Why go through all that anxiety or why even try, when you may not be up to it in the end?
It’s because we’re human.
I heard before that we can only truly know something once we try it. Even if we did fail at it, at least we now know for sure that perhaps it wasn’t for us. But until we dive into the depths of the unknown, it will remain a mystery.
I’m not sure which will hurt more: knowing you should’ve but you didn’t; or you did, but you failed at it?
I wasn’t ready to move to new places, or be promoted, or to talk in front of an audience. But had I NOT taken the chance, maybe I wouldn’t be the person I am now. Perhaps I wouldn’t have known that I can make people smile, that I can be independent, and that I can take the pressures of work.
“We’ll never be ready. So I guess that means we’re as ready as we’ll ever be.” ― Neal Shusterman
There are two kinds of people in this world: there are those who know they’re not ready, so they wait for the opportune moment until everything’s perfect – and then there are those who understand they can never really be ready, so they plunge in anyway.
Which one are you?
Cris Antonio is the Chief Editor of Scoopfed.com. She’s currently focused on helping healthcare workers find better career opportunities through Locum Tenens. Aside from writing, Cris also enjoys painting, collecting toys, and reading German novels. Feel free to follow her adventures on Twitter.
Image courtesy of rawpixelcom.