You Can't Predict, You Can Prepare
When opportunity knocks, can you open the door? When misfortune
strikes, can you make it through unscathed?
When you are faced with risk, uncertainty, and the
unpredictable, your ability to deal with it is directly tied to
your ability to absorb the consequences. Successful people know
that in order to be "choosey" in life, in order to put
themselves in a place of control over their lives, in order to
make decisions on what they want instead of what they have to
do, they must first have reserves. They know they cannot predict
the future, but they can prepare for it.
Reserves means: extra, a stockpile to draw on, more than you
need, insurance, back-up plan, escape plan, Plan B, safety net.
Call them whatever you want to - what it means is "It's not a
Reserves exist in both the practical and the emotional levels of
our lives, and consist of both material and nonmaterial things.
You must have not only material things like money, furniture,
house, cars, computers, or clothes. You must also have love,
leisure, support, space, time, happiness, and opportunity. The
emotional reserves in your life are every bit as important as
the physical ones.
With reserves in place, you are able to live your life looking
forward instead of always digging yourself out of a hole. With
reserves you remove the fear of acting on what you want, because
you are able to afford the consequences. With reserves, you have
enough support to make a mistake, you have enough money to get
you through, you have time to work it out, you have enough
self-love to learn instead of quit.
Without the reserves, stress and fear are your motivators. Think
of it on a small scale: Ever been caught with a dying printer
cartridge? You have to make a special trip, usually at an
inopportune time. With a reserve you have a back-up, stocked at
your convenience, not when dictated by the circumstance.
Think of it on a larger scale: Ever get hit with some
unpredicted expenses? Without a reserve of money, you have to
choose what bills to pay, and what becomes a backlog. Without a
reserve of money, you become motivated to go to a job you hate
by the fear of not having that paycheck each week. Without a
reserve of energy, stress, adrenaline, and possibly even
caffeine, drugs, or alcohol are the motivators to get you out of
bed each morning.
Reserves take the fear out of making a mistake. Reserves take
the pressure away. Without reserves you can't make mistakes or
misjudgments - the consequences are too high. You end up walking
on eggshells. Without reserves you can't take advantage of short
term opportunities - you simply don't have the resources to
With reserves comes freedom.freedom to choose instead of being
subject to your circumstances. Instead of allowing the
circumstances to control your reaction, you are able to make a
choice about how to handle the situation, instead of letting the
circumstance dictate it for you. When you have "it" (time,
money, energy, love) to give, you're not depleted.
Reserves, however, don't fall out of the sky. They are created.
They are planted, nourished, fed, and grown. They are a
Stockpiling is the obvious way to create reserves: . Healthy
relationships create a reserve of support . Extra money in the
bank creates a reserve of emergency funds. . Extra shampoo,
batteries, medicine, or food creates a reserve of necessities. .
An organized environment creates a reserve of space. . Extra
cell phone battery creates a reserve of communication
Another way to create reserves is though simplification: . To
find a reserve of time, first simplify by delegating a task to
someone else, dumping the task if it's no longer important, or
saying NO to things that don't meet your goals. . To find a
reserve of space, first simplify by clearing out things that
don't bring you joy. . To find a reserve of love, identify and
weed out the people in your life who are "extras", and not
supporters. . To find a reserve of energy, identify and remove
the things from your life that drag you down (lack of self care,
regrets, lack of boundaries).
An often overlooked way to establish a reserve is to identify
and fix whatever is draining the reserves you already have. Is
your mortgage too high, and is draining your bank account? Is
your job difficult and is draining your energy? Has clutter
taken over and is draining your reserve of space? Plug up those
holes! You can't create and build reserves if they're draining
out as fast as you add them.
What I want to stress here is that any plans to change your life
that fails to include reserves is doomed from the start. Change
of any kind only has staying power - sustainability - if it has
firm ground to stand on. With reserves, you operate from a base
of stability and security.
You can't predict, you can prepare. Experience the power of
making decisions based on security instead of worry, readiness
instead of reluctance, abundance instead of lack. Use what
successful people have always known -- if you want something
better in your life, begin with reserves.