You’ve likely heard…
“Success is what happens when preparation and opportunity meet”
… and it’s absolutely true!
Nay-sayers and those with a victim mentality will say things like: “He/She is so lucky!” “He/She has all the luck.” To me, the greatest source of “luck” is held within your own hands and mind. Having said that, however, you also have to agree to be accountable for yourself, your actions, your decisions, your “lot” in life, and so on. Most aren’t willing to do so — at least not to that standard. If you were to ask those with “all the luck”, though, they’d probably tell you stories of long nights, lost time with friends and family, etc., so they could invest in themselves, their trade, their knowledge base, or some other form of – wait for it – preparation for that which had yet to come.
See, they anticipated a future opportunity and put in the work ahead of time so that when the opportunity arose, they’d not only recognize it, but also be prepared to take full advantage of it. You may want to earn a six-figure income every year, but if all you do is sit around wishing for it instead of mentally preparing yourself to handle it or investing in your skills (essentially yourself), the odds of it ever coming to pass – short of a lottery ticket – is slim-to-none.
This philosophy works in a variety of situations – good and bad. Most of us are familiar with the positive or success-driven scenario. Most of us do not, however, internalize it when the negative arises; we just recognize that an unpleasant or unwanted situation has occurred – like a flat tire or something. You may be unable to prevent the flat tire from happening, but you can minimize your own stress and dramatically alter the outcome by being prepared.
Allow me to share another example, more recent and very close to home for me. In fact, at my home.
Just this past week, my son had left work and gone to get a soda with a friend before coming home. When they finished, he returned his friend to work, dropped them off, and proceeded home – via the “scenic route”, which he’s fairly inclined to do.
On this occasion, however, he came upon somebody who began to “tail” him… for about five miles… through turns here-and-there, driving way out of his way, etc. The unknown truck persisted. (Oh, did I fail to mention it’s about 10pm and very dark outside at this point??) Disclaimer: In no way am I condoning using a cell phone while driving; I’m merely recounting an event and stating that I feel, given the situation, it was one of his better decisions.
So, I get this phone call. “Are you at home?”
“There’s a guy in a big truck who’s been following me for about five miles. I’ve been turning and going all over the place, but he keeps following me.”
“Where are you now?”
“On Madison, headed home.”
“Okay, which driveway are you going to pull into?”
“Probably the one at the garage.”
“Alright. I’ll grab my coat and the dog and meet you out there.”
Sure enough, as I stand there, my son comes into view just a minute or so later. Right behind him (like, less than a car length behind him): a big, beefy, dark truck. He turns the corner to the garage, and the dog and I begin walking down the driveway past my son as he pulls in and toward the truck. The truck stops abruptly upon the dog and I coming into view of “his” headlights, I presume. The truck immediately backs up, crossing an intersection without stopping, about one-and-a-half blocks, then stops. (The thing to note is that “he” is only about one-third of a block away from another intersection behind him. He could’ve easily continued to back up and pull onto that street, driving off in an opposite direction.)
As my son, dog, and I stand waiting to see what the truck is going to do next, I pull my cell phone from my coat pocket and call 911.
The truck begins to drive forward at what appears to be at least an accelerated rate. So much so, in fact, that I honestly wondered to myself if it was going to just come back across the intersection and aim for me or my dog – so I call the dog closer to me and prepare to move back from the street into the driveway quickly. Although the truck turned the corner at a fast rate, without stopping, at least it didn’t come further toward us.
Needless to say, the police arrived and a report was made. They’re now “on call”, patrolling our neighborhood on a regular basis.
Bottom line: Although it’s a situation that we’re definitely unfamiliar with or, until now, had a reason to be prepared for, we’d at least discussed things like this and had some kind of plan if it did. Now, I’ll tell you: Our plan has now changed since it has happened, and we know what can happen. This means we’re now planned for a variety of other – even worse – scenarios. It puts a whole new spin on…
“Preparation Meeting Opportunity”
… doesn’t it? But what if we hadn’t been? It does drive home how important it can be to be prepared for opportunities – good or bad.
I’d encourage you… No, I implore you… Esepcially as we enter into a new year and everybody on the planet will be focusing on “new” goals… to get a clear about not only setting those goals, but preparing for their accomplishment, so you recognize and take advantage of all opportunities.
To your success in 2015 and beyond!