Earlier in August, I had the privilege of speaking at a SQLSaturday event in NYC. Like most events that I get invited to speak at, I spend a lot of time preparing for and rehearsing my presentations. But unlike most events, this one was special. Having spent quite a bit of time in the Big Apple, I have considered the Microsoft technical communities there like family. This happens to be the second SQLSaturday event that they ran, having done one in the previous year. They already have the experience of transforming this event into a success – and I wanted to be a part of it. While preparing for my scheduled presentation, I thought about the possibilities of doing an additional one, something that I don’t usually do. I was just thinking that, just in case one of the speakers won’t be available, I can easily volunteer to fill in (I’ve learned how to do this when I was still working in Singapore where my desk was almost a stone’s throw away from Microsoft Singapore’s office and had to fill in for a speaker when they urgently needed one.) So, I picked a topic that I was really excited about and prepared for it as well. Not only did I prepare for the additional presentation, I created an email template with a response to the event organizers about the topic that I was ready to speak on. The only thing that I didn’t do was to hit the Send button.
The day before the event came and, as I was having my first cup of coffee, I felt the urge to immediately open my email client. I felt as if I needed to send that email template that I have written a few days ago. A few seconds into my inbox and I saw an email that required a response similar to what I had in the template. Unfortunately, one of the speakers could not make it for the event. In just a matter of seconds after reading the email, I hit the Send button with a response that I had already prepared for. And that was the reason for the Twitter update I posted on the day of the event.
Most of us have always wanted to be successful but don’t even bother preparing for it. It’s as if we expect success to be handed to us on a silver platter. Unfortunately, even food served on a silver platter need to be taken in and chewed to be enjoyed. And that’s what it takes to be successful. Successful people know that they can’t just leave it off to chance. From my experience and from learning from others, here are three key steps to prepare for success:
- Envision what success looks like to you. We all have different definitions of success. If you’re embarking on a project or planning for your future, paint a picture of what success would look like when you achieve your goal. Mine was to be able to fill in for an additional speaking slot should one of the speakers bailed out unexpectedly. In a previous blog post, I’ve envisioned receiving the prize award that I’ve won. Make sure that you have a clear picture of what your end goal looks like.
- Create a plan that will help you achieve your goal. Envisioning what success looks like is just the first part. We need to create a plan that will help us achieve our goal. Lay out the things that we need to do and schedule the activities. As Michael Hyatt pointed out: “what gets scheduled gets done.” Your plan will also serve as your guideposts in measuring your progress. My plan for the event was to spend an extra half an hour a day preparing for the other presentation.
- Pay the price. I didn’t say success was easy. In a previous blog post, I talked about how to become an expert. And that included practicing consistently. Practicing consistently requires paying the price – the time, effort and resources you have to put in. Those extra hours I put in for preparation was one of the price that I have to pay. I bet you wouldn’t find any successful person who said success was cheap.
Success requires preparation. By remembering these three things, you can work your way to becoming successful. Are you preparing for your success or just waiting for it to happen? You can leave your comments below.