The Myth of Readiness

[fbls] It’s that time of year: New Years. On one hand, it’s filled with excitement as we set out our goals for the year (please tell me you’re setting goals and NOT resolutions). If you’re like most people, you’ll start strong. You’ll be filled with renewed energy and resolve to finally take the steps toward accomplishing that elusive goal.

  • You’re going to start that business.
  • You’re going to go for that promotion.
  • You’re going to start dating again.
  • You’re going to hire that new employee.
  • And so on…

But then something happens. “Reality” sets in and you begin to wonder if you’re really ready to take that next step. Then, you utter these words:

“I’m not sure if I’m ready yet.”

Maybe you say them out loud or, perhaps, they get locked into your brain where you put them on loop. Either way, those words lead to the single outcome of paralysis.

Let me give you a little insight: readiness in advance of an action is a myth. You can never be fully ready.

Was I ready to be a husband? No. Was I ready to be a father? No. Was I ready to be a business owner? No.

But that’s not very helpful, is it? So let’s look at one more. Is a soldier ready for battle after going through bootcamp? No. You see, the goal of the military commanders is not to make soldiers ready for battle, it’s to prepare them to perform in battle. Please don’t miss this: you are never ready for something until after you’ve already experienced it. Instead, the best you can hope for is to be prepared for the experience. I’ve spoken with people who have served in the military and they’ve confirmed that they were never ready for live battle until after they had actually experienced it.

Readiness is a myth. As long as you hold it as the benchmark for how you must feel before taking action, you will never take action because you will never feel ready until after you’ve experienced the very thing you have yet to actually do.

Back to my examples. I wasn’t ready to be a husband but I’ve been married for 12 years now and I never question whether I feel ready anymore. I wasn’t ready to be a father but I’ve been one for all of three weeks and I feel ready now. I wasn’t ready to start a business four years ago but readiness never crosses my mind. They only thing that changed was that I actually did what it was that I felt I wasn’t ready to do.

And this is my encouragement to you: don’t wait until you’re ready because you’ll never feel ready until after you’ve already done it. Instead, focus on preparation and, when you are prepared, take action.

Is there one area in your life that you’ve been waiting for readiness when you should be looking for preparedness?

Photo courtesy of the United State Marine Corp.