Someone somewhere said that success is when preparation meets opportunity. I want to dig into that a little bit.
What does it mean to be prepared? I think it is two fold: our skill set and our mindset.
We develop skills through knowledge and practice. We don’t know what we don’t know, so we have to go out and gain specific knowledge. When we started our podcast, I basically lived on Pat Flynn’s website. I had to learn the technical aspects like hosting, websites, and file formatting. When I was roasting coffee, I had to learn what mallard reaction is and how acidity is highlighted. These are all things that are not naturally known.
Knowledge doesn’t do any good if it isn’t put to use. The brain will actually get rid of information that it doesn’t need anymore. Quite literally, if you do not use it, you lose it. Once you have learned specific knowledge, you have to put it to use. We have to know how to apply the knowledge or it doesn’t add value. If it doesn’t add value, we will forget it. Once we have applied that information (the rule of 10,000 hours), it will be committed to our long term memory and feel like a second nature.
Mindset is a little different. We can’t develop our mindset from the outside. We can read books and listen to podcasts and gain a bunch of knowledge, but that won’t necessarily develop our mindset. Developing mindset starts with self-awareness. We have all heard that admitting the problem is the first step to recover (step one of the 12 step program). That mean self-awareness. It is looking internally and seeing there is an issue and admitting it. Once it has been acknowledged, then it can be addressed. For me, I was always a terrible public speaker. I could not do even the most basic class presentations. I wanted to get better at talking to people, so I started looking at myself when I did speak. What was going on with me? What was I feeling? After a while, I realized I was feeling fear. I was afraid of their judgement. I feared their judgment because I struggled with sense of self worth. I did not develop my ability to speak to people by doing more speeches. I did it by reinforcing my sense of self-worth. I still struggle with all of those fears, but now that I am aware of why I fell that way, I can take actions to compensate.
I write all this know it to be true, but still struggling with not getting the success I really want at the rate I want it. That is probably a good thing. Because if the preparation isn’t there, then I won’t be ready when the opportunity shows up. This makes me think back when I use to talk to folks who really wanted to be in a relationship. The ones that wanted it right now, usually ended up in bad places. The ones that focused on what they were doing, graduating college, getting their job, those people found other people by accident. Rarely do we see an opportunity and go get it. Usually, we are focused on our preparation when we are blessed with opportunity in a seemingly random way.