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 problem". 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 spare. 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 conscious choice. 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.