There is so much focus on success as a final destination and not enough emphasis on preparation. Without preparation, you cannot position yourself to benefit from opportunities that may come your way
Preparation is really downplayed and yet it is so KEY in positioning yourself to fully benefit from opportunities that come your way. The really neat part of preparation is that all the various circumstances, not just the professional ones contribute towards your readiness for success.
We admire all of the major sports players: from Michael Jordan (yes I am that young) to Kobe Bryant (God rest his soul) to Lebron James to our amazing sis Serena Williams. When they come to play, they have already put in hours of practice. Michael Jordan for example used to practice at least 6 hours per day ; You probably don't have to google stats on Kobe, Serena and Lebron. Bringing this back down to our level and not star-dom: I was meditating on the story of David and Goliath and how much we focus on the fact that David was an inexperienced boy while Goliath was this big huge GIANT.
To refresh your memory, the scripture is from 1 Samuel 17
But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Preparation season is always downplayed because it doesnt look glamourous. David got to show off his skills in front of everybody BUT when he was fighting the lions and the bears I guarantee you it did not look glamourous - especially him in the forest all by himself. Can you imagine - he was asked to take care of sheep and here comes this huge bear. He says he caught it by its beard and struck and killed it.
Do you know how much practice that must have taken for David to even attempt to KILL a bear or a lion.
Do you know how much practice he would have needed to have the confidence to look up and down at Goliath and scale him and decide that he'd already overcome BIGGER obstacles than this "uncircumcised Philistine" ?
Do you know how many prayers David must have prayed to escape the threatening lions and bears and how much his faith must have been tested before he could stand in front of the giant of the day.
Preparation seasons are the training ground where you get READY. We often expect to start getting ready when opportunity arrives. Truth is you need to be ready when opportunity comes otherwise you will not be able to benefit from it.
I used to do the church bulletins at our church in Montreal. I started in 2012. I used to do the good old school bulletins. Our congregation at that time was really small - about 30-40 members. I diligently did the bulletins every week and would print them at staples in time for Sunday morning. Service was at 8.30am so there was no chance of doing them up on Saturday night because I would have to get them printed beforehand and Staples closed at 5pm on Saturdays.
After a while I noticed that all the bulletins were going straight into the garbage find almost all the bulletins in the garbage after service. This offended me a lot because I put so much effort into making them. When we had a budget crunch, I pivoted the ministry by switching from paper bulletins to PowerPoint slides. These were more interactive and cost less and there was less waste so it was win-win-win. When hubby and I moved to Ottawa in 2016, a brother from the church asked me to take on the announcements slides. I had been doing this for 4 years already so I stepped in. I now had to do the slides in BOTH English and French for our bilingual congregation. I kept doing this every week and each week I got better and stronger.
Here are preparation lessons I learned through this ministry:
Every single Sunday from 2012 to 2020 the bulletins/announcements slides were done. Every single Sunday. Even when I travelled I send the slides by email. I remember going to Kenya to do my data collection for my PhD and emailing the slides. CONSISTENCY. Initially the fact that I had to print the bulletins meant that I had to think ahead in terms of time. When I was doing the slides electronically, I sometimes would send them late into Saturday night, but the bottom line is they were always prepared and always ready for Sunday morning.
This role helped me to exercise and build my discipline muscle. Regardless of what I was doing, I would have to put these together. Many friends who visited us on Saturday nights would remember me half listening to conversations because I was finishing up the slides. Even my kids knew that at some point on Saturday, mummy would be putting this together. Discipline has served me so well in blogging, in building Career Slay Mama as a business and in getting going even when I don't feel like it.
All of these skills have been critical for me in building Career Slay Mama as a business. That ministry was literally my training ground and through it, I have grown into who I am today. As time passed, it became a space for me to use my creative license. I would add my touch, try new things. See how the congregation would react to this and how they digested the information. I also grew in the technology I was using: I started on Microsoft Publisher, went to Powerpoint, and then Keynote and finally Canva.
I have shared some of the technical and character skills I learned. Here are 2 things I wish I had done better:
I was frustrated so many times and I let this really get in the way of my enjoying the season. There were times where all I would do was grumble and complain and my attitude could have been better. The thing with your preparation season is that it will take as long as it takes. That's on God to decide. So while you're there, be mindful of your attitude and try and ENJOY the season rather than complain through it.
5. Know when it is time
There is a tendency to get comfortable and even complacent in the waiting season. When you have been so used to waiting you stop expecting change and even set up camp in the waiting season. It is important to know when it is time to move to your next season. When you have been consistent in a role, people get used to you being in that role and they are not ready for you to change seasons. David's brothers were so used to him just taking care of sheep they weren't ready for him to suddenly change position. But he was ready because he had used his preparation season wisely. Don't let people box you just because they are used to seeing you inside the box. Get out of the box and act and think outside of the box even if it ruffles some feathers! Be ready to move on when it is time - David was not a shepherd forever. He grew into his role as a leader thereafter.
All of these skills have been critical for me in building Career Slay Mama as a business. David didn't practice with Goliath: he had been prepared by the lions and the bears long before that moment. What is more, he still had more training to go through before becoming king. That ministry was literally my training ground and through it, I have grown into where I am now.
It is important to recognize where you are at as a training ground. Whether you are working an admin job that you HATE or if you're in a academic program learning things that don't seem to make sense, choose to see the meaning in the season you're in. All things work together for good. Learn the lessons you are meant to learn. Rather than put your life on hold because you are waiting for your BIG BREAK - enjoy the season. New level comes with new responsibility and new pressures. Enjoy being where you currently are because once you level up, more will be required of you.
1. How are you setting yourself up for success?
2. What lessons are you learning in your season of preparation?
3. Are you allowing yourself to be refined in this season?
4. What is your attitude like?
5. Are you humble enough to learn from this season
I hope that you are able to get everything from your training season and that it builds you and sets you up for your winning season.
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