“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell
When I was a freshman in high school, one of the books we had to read was Animal Farm by George Orwell. Considering that I had read the book multiple times before in seventh and eighth grade, I figured that I did not need to read the sections assigned to us for weekly reading. I had the bright idea that to save time, I would just skip the reading and answer the questions based on my previous readings of the book.
It sounded like a brilliant idea. Well, until my teacher had me speak with her one day and show me how bad I had done on the first three sections. I am not sure that I scored over fifty percent on any of them.
To put it simply, I failed to prepare, and my grades on those assignments were indicative of my preparation.
Most jobs that we do are not those that we can just show up and expect to perform, especially if we want to do them well. There must be some level of preparation or training that takes place. To be a good student, we must study. To be a good athlete, we must practice. To be a good employee, we must learn the procedures and policies asked of us.
In addition to that, if we want to be great at what we do, our preparation must go to the next level. We must put in the extra hours beyond what is required to take our performance to the next level.
Why settle for just showing up? Should we not want to strive to be the best at anything we do?
Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to know some exceptionally talented athletes. I played with some, I coached others, and I observed many in all sports. What I quickly came to realize is that the ones who were great were not the ones who relied solely on their talents. They were great because of the hard work and preparation they put in to become better.
There are no shortcuts to success. It is no surprise that some of the greatest leaders, athletes, influential people, etc. are also the most prepared and the hardest working. They were not just born that way. They earned it.
Think about a nice event that you have been to lately. The event may last only a few hours at most. However, behind the scenes, hours upon hours of work go into pulling off that two hour event. As guests, we see it run smoothly and flawlessly. The preparation goes unnoticed.
My challenge to you is this: Do not take the easy way out. Do not settle for just showing up. Put in the extra effort to prepare yourself well. It may take a little more time and energy, but you and your performance will be better for it.
Bring your best today!