What does it mean to be prepared?

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You know that bad dream you keep having? The one where you’re suddenly in school again taking a test for a class you’ve been skipping…in your underwear. On a recent visit to New York City, I had an Uber driver that probably experienced this.

“Do you know how to get to this place?” he asked midway through the journey. I couldn’t believe my ears.  Suddenly, I was the country boy in a big city using Google Maps to help my hired driver traverse some of the world’s most challenging streets.

I arrived safe and sound, but this experience got me thinking about what it means to be prepared. If you were ever a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout you know the motto: “Be Prepared.” What does that really mean in a professional sense?

Unpreparedness isn’t just the result of a lack of experience. Even battle-tested professionals get caught off guard. Being prepared means having plan B,C, D, and E ready to go once the other shoe drops and, believe me, it WILL drop. This means investing some time and effort into asking the question, “What could go wrong?” Then, whatever your answer is, build a plan and get some tools to protect yourself.

“Be prepared” is surprisingly uncommon common sense. The difference between a successful and a not-so-successful career can boil down to the precautions you’re willing to take. Scout’s honor!

How do you stay prepared in your industry?

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