Preparation ::: The Right of Expectation

Signature of Dale Carnegie
Signature of Dale Carnegie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“After preparing for success, expect it” – Dale Carnegie, The Art of Public Speaking

While listening to the audiobook of this great work, this statement spoke volumes. I couldn’t stop thinking about the profoundness of those six words. It soon occurred to me that this applies beyond professional speakers.

Society talks and teaches a great deal about expectations; about rights; about matters of importance.  The reason so many of us, myself included, struggle with success, or lack thereof, comes to down to the improper placement of emphasis.  We focus on doing. We focus on talking. We may or may not set goals and lay out tasks. We rarely teach preparation. If Carnegie were around today, the sequel…prequel perhaps? should have been The Art of Preparation

Some pointers on the subject here:

Adam points out his main lesson learned, that “Preparation = Confidence”

Dale Carnegie would strongly agree, basically having stated the equivalent; “Only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident.”

Success is never a guarantee. Preparation, however, stacks the odds in your favor. Failure, however, is inevitable for those who are “not exactly” prepared. Of course, before you can prepare, it helps to have a vision. You have to know the purpose for which you are to prepare.

A baby on the way? You have to prepare the room. Moving? You need to pack and clean, sort and maybe even downsize. Getting married? Starting a new job? Making new friends? Getting out of debt? Growing stronger in your faith and relationship to God?

Whatever “it” is that is on your horizon and approaching you on the road you travel, have you prepared?  If life is a journey, are you properly packed? Do you travel with light? With what is most necessary for survival? Clothing for unexpected weather? Money for the unexpected?

The movie Facing The Giants was on television last weekend. Mr. Bridges, an older gentleman, perhaps recently retired, walks the halls of school, praying over students as he passes their lockers. He stops into the football coachs’ office to give a word of encouragement, that God has a reason why the coach is struggling with the team, and parents who are frustrated with his performance as coach. During the conversation, Mr. Bridges shares the story of two farmers who prayed for rain. One prayed. One continued to work his field while he prayed.

I’m speaking to myself, so thanks for reading my own advice. Are you praying for success in your career or performing the necessary tasks that will cause God to take notice? It’s hard to ask anyone for anything if they do not see you moving in that direction already.  Nobody is going to come up to me and offer to pay my financial debt in full. Yet there’s a story of a couple in Dave Ramsey’s circle of “debt-free” families, of a couple who wanted to adopt, but were waiting until they were debt-free. Another family, who also had adopted a number of children, offered to pay the couples’ remaining debt, so that they could more quickly adopt.  Wow.

Each of us has our goals and dreams and desires. It’s “not a people help those who help themselves” gospel, but correspondingly, this is how members of society get spoiled. “I’ve never had to do this before…someone always did it for me.” There’s a big difference between “I get what I have because I work hard for it” and “I get what I want because someone gave it to me.” This why some people never watch reality TV!

We see and hear about this all the time through great and successful leadership, church and business alike. “I am not/will never ask you do something that I have not done/am doing myself.” – Pastor Brad Trask. This leads not only to great business but great churches. It creates culture. It creates following. It creates community. It is the ability to relate. It is proper. It is “right relationship”.

*once again…this post taking an unknown direction

Christians struggle with the whole “die to self” concept, yet, what do you think Jesus had to do when God told him what His purpose was.  God prepared an example for us to follow… the expectation for us to do the same, naturally exists.

The bottom line… If you have expectations, then you should be making preparation.  If you are not… then it goes back our conversation earlier, on default v. preferred status.

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