We’ve always heard that practice makes perfect, but before practice, there’s another more essential step: preparation.
I’d considered myself to be a rather action-oriented person; when I want something, I figure out how to make it happen. My “growth opportunity” had always been in the preparation.
As a creative director of The Purple Lemonade Collective, it’s important for me to create an environment where the company can thrive, therefore effective preparation is key. It isn’t just about preparing for an event/project, it also means having a plan for a project’s impact BEYOND the event. the last year has provided many opportunities for me to grow in this process of preparation. As a “full-speed-ahead” kind of guy, it wasn’t always easy. However, practicing these concepts has made my prep-process more productive and enjoyable.
1. Be definitive about what you intend to accomplish.
Before tackling any project or goal, define what you are aiming to achieve. Too many times we accept projects/situations that are “time fillers”, but an important part of preparing is knowing how the project fits in your overall goal. If something is not contributing to where you want to be at your one-year, three-year, or five-year goal mark, why waste energy on the distraction? Good preparation entails knowing whether or not something is an opportunity or a diversion. There is no logic in preparing for something with no payoff.
2. Take an honest inventory of your resources.
Resources for your project can be personal, emotional, financial or any other support you’ll need to be successful. It’s important to know what you have, and where you are before launching anything. Be honest in your assessment, evaluate your talents, as well as your weaknesses. Once you understand what is in your tool bag, it’ll be easier to build partnerships and connections that complement and/or supplement what you bring to the table. Doing this will not only allow you to use your resources more efficiently, it’ll also help fill any holes in the execution of your plan.
3. Know your role within the project…and everyone else’s.
It’s relatively easy to assemble a team, but it’s an entirely different concept to assemble a group with a purpose. Be extremely strategic about who you are inviting into you creative circle. Obviously, there needs to be a base level of criteria. However, everyone should have something to offer beyond that. Assemble a team of people that support your skills, and those that can strengthen your weaknesses. Understanding everyone’s specific talents can also help in developing a communication style among the team.
4. T.H.I.N.K. about plan B (yes I got it from an internet meme but it’s mad helpful #epiphany).
Trust and believe that there will be situations where even the best of plans require adjustment; having a contingency plan is key. However, a Plan B is not created anticipating failure with Plan A, but rather a scenario to ask yourself, “are there other solutions that might work to achieve my goal?” When examining those alternatives remind yourself of the following questions as a filter:
T — is it thorough, H — is it helpful, I — is it inspiring, N — is it necessary, K — is it kind?
If you can say yes to all of those questions, you’ve got a solid plan B. If you can’t, spend more time with steps 1–3. The goal is not to try solving tomorrow’s problem today, but rather to have the awareness of being open to change and prepared for it.
5. Write it all down.
This is a pretty straightforward concept. Apply steps 1–4 and put in ink. The benefits of having your preparation all on paper will be invaluable. This allows you re-evaluate your action plan once you’ve started your project as well as pulse checking that you’re still on course with your primary intention.
As we look back on our 2016, we’re eagerly preparing for a marvelous 2017. We hope you’re inspired to start preparing for all the amazing moves you’ll make in the new year. Baaaaybeee! we gon’ ALL be shining together.
If you need help preparing for your best 2017, We wanna hear from you.
Photo Credit — Ryan Foster