Thursday, November 17, 2016

How do you know when you are ready?

How do you know when you are ready?

Life has a way of changing on us. In the musical Jekyll and Hyde there is a song that contains the lyrics “The Only Thing Constant Is Change”. Never were truer words spoken.

But how do you know if you are ready for the change that is coming? I recently had a friend become a parent for the first time. Before the birth, I shared with him my philosophy that you are never truly “ready” for parenthood, because you have no idea what life is going to throw at you.

I certainly was not ready to become a parent. I was not ready on the day of my son’s birth to be confronted with the harsh reality of congenital heart disease. I certainly was not ready for him to have open heart surgery at six days old.

You are never ready for something like that.

But to go even further back, was I ready to be a husband? Coming from a dysfunctional family, I had no experience of a happy family to be able to base my decisions for the future. All I had were my own theories and ideas and principles that were forged through a childhood of listening to my parents fight and scream and cry.

Even before that, was I ready to change countries and start a new life with a woman who I had not spent much physical time with at all? A long-distance relationship is a difficult way to get to know each other, and yet I was prepared to walk away from family, friends and country to start a new with nothing more than two suitcases.

I was prepared, but was I truly “ready? No – we never truly are.

Does your fear of “not being ready” hold you back from doing the things that will make you happy? I have written recently about the value of time and the importance of spending or investing time wisely. One of the things that often holds us back from the proper investment of our time is a feeling that we are “not ready”. That somehow we need more experience, or a better understanding, or more resources.

Most of that is our own fears. Can you be underprepared…sure. Could you be more experienced…of course. Could you have more resources…of course you could.

But you can also spend your entire life hiding behind those reasons. At some point you have to make the decision to go.

From the first time I watched it, Apollo 13 has been one of my favorite movies. There are so many moments in the film that give me goose-bumps but, without fail, every single time I watch the scene where they are giving the go/no go for launch, and as the flight controller is calling out to each of his team leaders for their go/no go, I feel that same thrill of excitement, as the combined knowledge, skill and experience of so many people converge at a single moment when 7.5 million pounds of thrust is unleashed on a Saturn V rocket to hurdle three brave men into a rendezvous with danger that they had no concept about.

Were they ready for the explosion to happen? No. Had they prepared? Yes.

They did not know that that exact failure was going to occur, so they could not have been ready for it. They were trained for many other failures, but nobody had even considered such a catastrophic explosion that destroyed so many of their spacecraft’s systems.

However they had drilled and prepared and studied and learned as much as they possibly could about their spacecraft and their mission before they left. Their training, and the skill and training of the entire flight control team got them through a situation that they should not have survived. They came home despite overwhelming odds when they should have been breathing their last moments in the vast expansive unforgiving space.

They were not ready, but they were prepared.

All of us go through life with different experiences and different situations. Sometimes we come up against situations that we are “not ready for” because we have not been there.

Do not let the fear of that stop you. Prepare, but then do. There comes a time when you have to trust your skill, knowledge, experience and training, and then just do.

Whatever it is in your life that you are preparing for, set your deadline. Make your decision. Prepare, prepare, prepare...

And then do.

And you will know peace.

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