Recently, I’ve been invited to be part of a series of leadership development classes through the company where I work. There will be a lot of public speaking as part of our leadership development, something that I haven’t exposed myself to in the past. There are many speaking roles in the class; everything from impromptu short speeches to a 15-20 minute keynote address in each class. When I saw the various roles, I couldn’t help but feel my pulse quicken at the thought of having to give a keynote address. “I wonder if I’ll have to do that” I thought. When the agenda came out for the first class, I saw that I was assigned the first keynote speech.

My initial reaction to this event was fear. Because I haven’t been equipped to do this in the past, I played that forward in my mind to think that I will be ill equipped to give such a talk. Fortunately, I didn’t stay at my pity-party very long. “Wait a second, what am I thinking? I’m taking these classes to improve my leadership skills…how will I do that if I don’t practice them? Isn’t this exactly why I am doing this?”

Now that I had altered my mindset, I started to wonder how much I could improve my skills before I was to give my speech. “Winging” a speech of this length is not an option; I needed to prepare if I wanted to do this well. Because I started from a place where I lacked the skills to do this well, I’ve had to put in a good effort to be well-prepared for our first class. This experience has brought about an awareness in me that we don’t often leave space in our world to be well-prepared for the roles we take on. We all want to be great at work, great at parenting, have great relationships, and so on. But how many of our daily activities support growth in these areas, or growth anywhere for that matter?

Many people chase things that they are not prepared to receive. In order to be part of great things, you need to be capable of handling great responsibilities. Rather than thinking about incredible outcomes, better yourself to have incredible capabilities. Rather than dreaming of new heights, start designing and building a foundation that can support these things.

What is required of the outcomes you wish for? Is there a certain skill? Then work toward acquiring the skill, not the outcome. Is self-control needed? If so, practice denying yourself in some way on a daily basis. Does your dream require money? Place limits on your spending, and save part of your income every time you get paid.

I believe good fortune, or good “luck”, is being prepared when opportunities arrive that can benefit you. We usually can’t anticipate these events, but they can be a game-changer for us if we are prepared to take advantage of them when they show up.

I will give my keynote in a few weeks, and I’m sure I will be nervous that day in spite of my preparation. But I’m hopeful that the nerves will quickly subside as I execute the thing that I have prepared myself to do. Beyond this one speech, I’ve acquired a great perspective on what it means to be well-prepared for many different things in life. We all have things we want to accomplish or become. Spend some time reflecting on how much effort you are giving to become well-prepared for these things. Take action to become well-prepared so you can take advantage of the opportunities that will come your way.

To your well-being,

Brian