Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Word for the Day: Prepare. I work primarily with Hospice Patients, people who can see the end of their life coming more clearly than the rest of us. So, I have heard the following phrase many times: "We had always planned on … " The phrase gets ended in many different ways. Some folks planned on taking a trip, or going on another honeymoon, or building on to their home, or something as simple as sorting through all the family snapshots. But you can tell by how the phrase begins that this hadn’t happened and maybe there’s just a bit of regret. Plans are funny things. Have you ever looked at the “plans” for a building? The details, at least in some cases, are revealing. You can see the plan for every door, window and outlet. I suspect most so-called “plans” for our lives aren’t anywhere near that detailed. In fact, if we are honest, our plans mostly consist of talking about something(s) we’d like to do, mixed with a generous amount of wishful thinking. That’s why I think the word “preparation” is so important. When we prepare we actually take some action step. If it is a trip, maybe we need a passport or a savings account set aside for travel. If we want to put our pictures in some order maybe we ought to buy some scrapbooks or just call the family together for a surprise “picture party.” The same thing happens at work, doesn’t it? We all want to have the best workplace ever and perhaps even talk about “plans” to make it that way. But those ideas fall to the wayside in the busy-ness of what we do. How about picking one personal action step to make your workplace better? Let me ask you a question. What are your actions leading toward? Is everything you do just looking to retirement and what we anticipate there? That’s a good place for planning. But what about all the days between now and then? Some folks waste a lot of life looking forward only to some time years in the future. So what is the focus of our preparation? Prepare to make the world a better place. Wow, isn’t that abstract? But there’s truth there. What actions can we take to make the world more positive? What words would we say (or refrain from saying)? What would we do around work to make the environment more satisfying for more people? Prepare to grow great relationships. When you make a list of “most important things” in your life your relationships with family, friends, God and others will likely be high on the list. What actions can we take to grow those relationships? We all have discovered that just being in the same place at the same time doesn’t always do the trick. Do we need time set aside for just talking at family gatherings? Do we need to find ways to connect at work? Prepare to be replaced. There is an old truth: “Everyone can be replaced.” But there’s more to it. Everyone will be replaced … someday. There aren’t many better goals than to make the job easier, clearer and more positive for whoever will follow. What can you do about that? I don’t know your plans or “wishful thinkings.” I do know that, in your life (your family, your work, everywhere) it is wise to make preparations for things good and bad. Make out your will and your advance directive. And whatever you would like to do ask this: what’s the first step? And then take it. Have no regrets. Make preparations instead of just plans.