Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail, Pt. 1

By Jimmy Warden

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. This quote is heard across many industries: sports, business, education, health/fitness, entrepreneurship, writing, and others.

I’m not sure when I initially heard the quote ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’, but I know it’s a piece of advice that rings true in many areas of life. We need to do the behind-the-scenes work if we want to experience success. Essentially, that’s preparation to a tee. We experience failure when we don’t prepare. But when we do, triumph is inevitable.

In part one of a two-part series, we’ll dive into the preparation tactics for our careers and relationships.

Our Careers

Preparation for our jobs looks different for each one of us. But there are a few similarities among people that prepare.

1.) Waking up on time

Everyone’s sleep-wake cycle varies, as well as everyone’s starting time for work. Waking up on time, however, is a trait that successful people have. They do not waste time hitting snooze or laying in bed. Their first step of preparation is getting out of bed quickly.

Waking up on time
Wake up on time

2.) To-do lists are made and prioritized

Everyone has mental to-do lists buzzing around in their heads like a swarm of angry bees, but not everyone makes to-do lists. Nor do they prioritize them. This creates mental chaos and chronic stress at work.

Putting more emphasis on fewer tasks is a game-changer. It gives the brain a chance to optimize for what’s prioritized. Instead of having thoughts gallivant around to figure out what to do, a prioritized task list makes decisions about what to get done first. This maximizes our efficiency at work because we aren’t doing tasks that are low on the list. Tasks that seemed important might not be that important, so they can get done at a later date or time.

Make a to-do list with priority tasks
Make a to-do list with priority tasks

3.) At least one prioritized task is done by the end of the day

No matter what directions people get pulled in, while at work, those that prepare make sure at least one priority task is finished by the end of the day. Completing one of those items leaves them feeling accomplished and proud of their efforts because they were able to complete something important despite the random pulls of their job responsibilities.

Accomplishing one important thing feels better than not accomplishing anything.
Accomplishing one important thing feels better than not accomplishing anything

Our Relationships

Preparing for a relationship is a bit trickier, but it’s still relevant to the topic at hand. Preparation in this domain varies from our careers because it mostly centers around communication.

1.) Communicating clearly; prepare what’s going to be said

No matter if it’s an intimate partner, parent, grandparent, sibling, friend, or work colleague, it’s essential to speak clearly to them to avoid confusion and altercation. This is done by preparing what’s going to be said during conversations.

I’m not saying people should memorize what they’re going to say to someone ahead of time. Instead, having an idea before the conversation about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it takes place leads to more comprehensible dialogue.

Prepare for conversations by preparing what you’ll say ahead of time.

2.) Communicating honestly; speak personal truth

This point is essential because it keeps integrity in the relationship. Being untruthful with someone is the quickest way to erode the relationship because it’s game over when lies come to the surface.

Yes, being mindful of how the truth might sound is crucial, but the tone of truth is not as crucial as the truth itself, so prepare for it by thinking about it beforehand. What are the truths you’re trying to communicate to others? Once there’s clarity, speak on it.

Communicate honestly
Better to be honest than not

3.) Carve out time to be with people

Putting time with people into our personal schedule is a terrific way to show them we care. Life gets busy for many reasons, but there’s no better way to demonstrate love than by making a time and place to be with someone or a group of people.

It takes preparation to schedule time with others because plans must be made ahead of time to make sure they fit everyone’s schedule. Once they are set, however, everyone can bask in each other’s presence to create meaningful memories. This is the beauty of a plan coming to fruition.

Show others you care by making time for them
Show others you care by making time for them

Tune in tomorrow for part two: nutrition and personal development.

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