Preparation is half the work
Preparation is half the work
Several moments a year I enjoy taking the time to cook a special meal. The goal with this is to create a moment of warmth, joy and togetherness with the people I love. So I find the greatest fulfillment in tasting the food and receiving complements from the people I cooked for. This ‘greatest moment’ is short, but luckily I’ve found ways to enjoy the process as well. Preparation plays a huge part in this.
In this example preparation is about clarifying the recipe, making the shopping list, doing the shopping, cutting the ingredients, making everything ready to do the cooking itself and prepare the right timing for all the steps of the process.
In short, preparation is all about clarifying the process. How you do that, depends on your goals and activities. I will present some general ideas to give you ideas on what preparation could look like and why it is important. Although I will emphasize how to prepare yourself better, I don’t want to ignore the importance of spontaneity, impulsivity and improvisation. Therefore this topic actually holds an important challenge; the flexibility to prepare your tactics and process while staying open to what happens in the moment and use that to make things even better. That will take practice.
Find the missing pieces
You have new ideas. You’re excited to try them. You can already imagine what your success is going to look like. That’s fantastic! This thrill will help you to stay motivated.
However, to make that work you’re going to have to face the difficulties as wel some day. The sooner the better.
Increasing your insights in the process can start with mapping out everything that you already know. Grab a bunch of post-its or use one big paper and write down everything that you know about this goal already.
While doing that, you might already notice the missing information. Maybe you don’t know exactly how something works, or your missing some background information. Working on this overview is a perfect time to be critical and to ask yourself a lot of questions. The collection of missing pieces might start to feel heavy at some point, that’s your cue to clarify and specify your goals further.
Specify your focus
To fill up all the missing pieces is too much to do at ones. Hell, you might have just found out you don’t want to do all of it anyways! So, it’s time to find out what you do want!
What part of this process was exciting you the most?
Working on just this part will bring you something as well, what is that? How important is that for you?
If your goal is to start a business, you might have found out that it will involve creating a product/service, marketing, creating a website, building and maintaining social media profiles, administration, networking, and so on. And for example the administrative part might be a giant mountain to climb for you. Why not find a way to leave that for later?
A business often starts with a passion, an interest or an opportunity that you’ve found. Why not focus on this first? You could choose an idea, turn it into an offer, find background information, create a test version, test it with your ideal customer and work from there.
Do your research
whatever focus point you choose to work with, it will help you to investigate what it will take to make it happen. It is all about clarifying your process and guiding your focus. During this research, you can incorporate moments of reflection focused on your own capabilities and talents. This way you do not only gain insights into the process in itself but also about the challenges you are going to face. Let’s put this into some steps:
- Search for “how to…” articles and videos and the experiences of others with the process you are about to start.
- Filter out the steps and the order of steps in which you would prefer to work (everybody works in a slightly different way).
- What steps will be easy for you? Which steps are fun for you to do?
- And what steps are going to be tiresome, difficult or uncomfortable for you? What is the importance of these steps? Can you change them to make them more doable?
- Puzzle with the planning of your process in such a way that it turns out into a plan that makes you feel excited to do the work and confident that you can make this happen with your capabilities. Remember: this is your process, do it your way.