Preparation is the mark of a professional. Preparation is also the mark of a successful person in any field. As you move upward in any occupation, you will find that the top people spend far more time in preparation than the average person does. The top 10 percent in any field are always more thoroughly prepared in every detail than those who struggle for a living in the same occupation.
Guard Against the Worst
For me, as a professional speaker and seminar leader, the worst thing that could happen would be for my luggage to be lost and for me to arrive without the clothes and seminar materials that I need for my speaking engagement. To guard against this situation, I carry all my essentials on board with me, never out of my sight. Because of this habit of advance planning, I have never had an insurmountable problem because of baggage delays or losses. On the way to your destination, in the achievement of your most important goal, continually ask yourself, “What are the worst possible things that can happen?” And then guard against them.
Plan for Any Eventuality
The mark of a superior thinker is that he or she assumes that the worst will happen and makes provisions against it. Napoleon Bonaparte was once asked if he believed in luck. He replied, “Yes, I do. I believe in bad luck. I believe I will always have it, and I plan accordingly.”
Refuse to be Passive
My traveling experiences have taught me two things. First, prepare for the worst. No matter what anyone tells you, be prepared for the possibility that he or she will not follow through. Second, be proactive, not passive. Instead of becoming angry or depressed, get busy and get going. Find an alternative. Refuse to accept the current situation if it is not satisfactory. Instead of waiting for things to happen, make things happen.
Prepare a Checklist
Pilots carefully review a checklist prior to every flight. Even if they have flown thousands of hours and have been active pilots for twenty years, they still go through the checklist every single time. You should prepare a checklist as well. No matter how many times you have made the same trip, you should review your checklist once more. Never trust to memory. The failure to check just one critical detail can leave you stranded and maybe even put your destination out of reach. As you proceed toward your personal destinations and struggle toward your goals, the consequences of not following your checklist will not be as severe. But it is not unusual for a business to go broke or a person to lose all his or her money because someone failed to pay attention to a critical detail.