I recently had the chance to talk to some people about some future thoughts and heard the comment made, “that is preparedness.” Sometimes it takes an event, a word or a phrase to send my mind thinking in a different direction. Preparedness and the future do go hand in hand. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word preparedness as “the fact of being ready for something: the state of being prepared.” How well do we in fact take the steps to prepare for the future? I do not mean set goals and then strive for them, but actually sit down and lay out the possible scenarios that lie before us, such that, we are prepared for whatever direction our path takes us?
There is an exercise I have gone through with planning projects, which is to identify the risks and the hurdles to success. These were not excuses for failure but the opportunity to take a step back and realistically evaluate the environment the project exists in, the business factors, the resources available and the time requirements by management. With multiple factors involved, presentation of the plan is always based on the optimal potential outcome. However, the risk and hurdles do need to be mentioned up front and continuously throughout the project. New requirements appear, new business practices are desired and change in resource timelines mean that being prepared is always an ongoing process and the ability to communicate the impact of the change in the environment is required so that everyone involved understands the impact to the project.
While it is easy for me to put this in project management terms, the same holds true for being prepared for activities in our homes (weekend projects do not just happen), volunteer work (time is important) and social events (last minute does not always work). Even something as simple as a house party requires preparedness, especially in terms of weather, food, number of people, how to occupy children, etc. We have had a number of parties over time and only once did we have threatening weather. We knew who to call for tents, modified the music setup (yes, our band is the house band), and food changes. While this can be mistaken as work, it is important in most areas of our lives to be prepared for whatever comes our way. As author Peter Benchley put it, “Fascinations breeds preparedness, and preparedness, survival.” Be fascinated with the life before you and then you will be prepared for most of what comes your way.