Over the past three months, we have been focused on MINDSET.
- How you think will determine what you do.
- What you do will determine how you live.
- How you live determines who you are.
Are you a person of greatness? Are you a success? Do you have significance? Your journey all starts with how you think. Your mindset will either make you or break you.
I believe you want a life of success and significance. I believe you have the mindset to
become great. Today, I want to share a foundational key to success. It is found in one
word: PREPARATION. As Russell Wilson says, “The separation is in the preparation.”
You will never rise above your level of preparation, so let’s talk about how to prepare
yourself for a life of success. There are two areas: preparing the mind and preparing the
As a success coach, I see the need for prior planning every day. People fail because they
did not prepare. They fail because they moved forward before they had the knowledge
necessary to do so. Too often the lure of the goal causes people to move before they
are ready. I’m cautioning you against that impulsive behavior. Yes, we want to get
started. Yes, we need to see action. And yes, we feel that we are not really “doing
anything” if we are not moving. But preparation is what will set you apart. Being
organized, informed, and equipped will pay off many times over. Your foundation of
knowledge and practice will give you an advantage over your competition and will
propel you to the forefront. So, get ready to prepare. It’s what winners do.
Bobby Knight, the championship-winning basketball coach said, “The key is not the will
to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” To be
great at anything, you must put effort into the preparation.
PREPARE THE MIND - LEARN
The old saying “Look before you leap” is very true, and so is “Learn before you leap.”
Learn everything you can about your area of passion. Learn about your competition.
Learn the conditions of the economy. Learn about the person. Do your homework.
Complete your groundwork. Armies do not march into war without an enormous
amount of preparation. Olympians do not reach the games without an astonishing
quantity of time spent in training.
Knowledge is the foundation of success. People who are successful know things that
other people don’t. They know more about their subject matter than the other people
in their profession. They know more about the laws that affect them than the other
people who are impacted by those same laws. They know more about politics in the
workplace. They know more about the latest trends in the market and in technology.
Knowledge is power. In fact, it is more powerful than money or a title or the
connections a person may have in the marketplace of competition.
Consider this: Why do you pay a mechanic hundreds of dollars to fix an oil leak in your
car? Because he knows how to fix it, and you don’t. Why do you pay a doctor hundreds
of dollars just to check your vital signs and write you a prescription? Because he knows
what is causing your fever and what drug can best cure it, and you don’t.
People who know things succeed; people who don’t know things fail. So, if you are wise,
you will continue to learn throughout your life. You will constantly add new facts to the
information you already have. You will attend seminars, listen to lectures, go to school
at night, and read books. Remember this: Poor people have big televisions while
wealthy people have big libraries. If you want to succeed, you will do whatever it takes
to gather the information you need to grow and to flourish in the areas of life that
If you have failed in the past at any endeavor that was important to you—marriage,
business, investment, or anything else—you probably failed, not because you lacked the
ability to execute your plan and not because you lacked the talent to win, but because
you lacked the knowledge to develop the right kind of plan. You failed because you did
not have the information you needed to succeed. That lack of knowledge can often be
linked to a lack of preparation.
So, if you have failed in the past and you want to succeed in the future, you must
understand the obstacles that await you. Prepare yourself for the challenges ahead.
Understand the nature of the conflict, and learn about the costs you must pay to win.
Understand your competition, and have a plan that addresses every foreseeable
contingency. Keep gathering information, and keep learning.
John Wooden was probably the greatest college basketball coach of all time. He
prepared his players to win in life as much as he prepared them for victory on the court.
And Wooden believed in learning. He believed in the power of knowledge. Wooden
often told his players, “If I’m through learning, I’m through.”
PREPARE THE BODY - PRACTICE
Life is made up of thousands of little moves and thousands of small decisions that come
together to create a picture of your future. And this is where the preparation of both
mind and body comes into focus.
Learn and rehearse. Educate and train. You see the pattern – it’s about knowledge and
practice – which is practical experience. Your knowledge, together with your practice,
will determine your success. You must put your knowledge to work, and to do that
means to practice. And practice provides experience. Anyone who has tried to become
great – whether it is in a sport, playing an instrument, or some other activity can
certainly relate to Joyce Meyer’s statement, “The way anything is developed is through practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice and
There is simply no substitute for experience. You need the knowledge and you need
practical experience. You also need the knowledgeable and experienced input of those
who have made the journey ahead of you.
There are two kinds of players in the game of life. There is the one who attempts to
succeed though connections, through charm or charisma, through bluffing or through
doing just enough to get by. Eventually, without substance, this person fades. Then
there is the person who avidly seeks knowledge, who learns everything he can and
applies it. He works long hours and he works diligently, many times in the face of
opposition and criticism. But he has the will to prepare, the expectation of hard work
and the vision of his goal. And he is the one who will last.
So, do you want to separate yourself?
- Then determine what you need to know to improve your game and to score in a
- big way your next time out.
- Read, study, prepare, do your research and your due diligence.
- Put that knowledge to work and gain practical experience in your field of
- Practice, practice, practice.
- Surround yourself with people who have already done what you want to do or
- people who have done it better.
- Learn from others.
Then move forward with the confidence that comes from being fully prepared for
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