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Being Prepared Is Not an Option

Tomorrow, I leave for the International Sleep Products Association Expo in the BIG EASY, folks. That’s right, New Orleans, Louisiana!

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We will have many people coming in from many different parts of my company for this four-day event. Most of our team flies in the day before the show starts and leaves the day it ends – they see the Leggett & Platt show space and tell us how great everything looks. What they don’t realize is how much work it took to get us to that point. We plan this event for an entire year before it happens, because being prepared is the key to its success.

I am sure you have heard the famous quote by Louis Pasteur, which says, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”  If you don’t like that one, you can go with this from the Roman philosopher Seneca, who said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Maybe you would like to quote me instead, “If you don’t prepare, your screwed.” Isn’t it true? Think back to the guy that sits in a meeting with nothing in front of him and when asked to give an opinion has no clue what to say. How about the mattress store you visit where there are no balloons, the new price signs aren’t out, and the manager has absolutely no idea what marketing campaign is hitting the paper that day? Or a bedding rep that just gets in his car every day ready to hit seven retail doors with no agenda or real purpose other than some back slapping and sharing some conversation about conspiracy theories surrounding the missing flight MH370, or whatever else is in the news.

Planning and preparation are so big when it comes to being ready when success comes knocking. Think about the Olympic athletes and how they make their sport look so darn easy, and then think about the thousands of hours they spend preparing for that one race. It’s not about luck. It’s about being ready and getting a plan in place, finding the right people, searching for the right resources, and checking and double-checking all the details. That is the difference between luck and calculated success.

My first few years of college, I used to hate Sundays because it was my guilt day. It was my guilt day because I was rarely prepared for my week. Many times, I had not studied for a test or my paper was not ready for the professor to review. It took me a while, but I realized that not being ready caused me more pain and frustration than making the effort to be in a good place Sunday night, ready to hit Monday right in the jaw.

You might get lucky once or twice flying by the seat of your pants but that approach rarely delivers consistent results. Take the time to get ready, prepare answers to the questions that “might get asked,” learn something about the subject, and be more informed than anyone in the room. Go over and above learning your way in, and I guarantee you will come out on top more often than not.

So give me an example of when you just weren’t ready – did you learn your lesson? Tell me in the comments section.

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