These two words, ‘ready’ and ‘prepared’, are synonyms, and they are used interchangeably in our western vocabulary. Am I mentally ready or am I mentally prepared? Is my husband waiting for me to get ready or get prepared to walk out the door?
In the day-to-day routine of life, the precision of words is not required. However, within leadership these distinctions put a particular spin on how we view our failures.
One could view readiness as an emotional, cognitive or spiritual state. We are open and willing in our mindset. Whereas prepared suggests we have studied, read, planned, packed, created our list, checked it twice, phoned, texted and emailed. When we prepare, we do something with our hands and feet; then we hope the preparation leads to a readiness of the experience that is forthcoming.
It might be necessary for leaders to shift their language. The next time I hear a client say: “I thought I was ready for this, and now I realize I’m not,” there is an opportunity to explore how they prepared.
In our busy lives when we have to be reminded to breathe (something our bodies should know how to do deeply without a prompt), we also need to reflect on what good preparation means. Perhaps ‘winging it’ is not the best approach when it comes to our leadership. We need something more. It may involve reading relevant literature, finding a mentor, hiring a coach, leveraging assistants, attending regular workshops, enrolling in a peer group, or garnering other types of support. These strategies and tactics may never lead to full readiness, but they will ensure adequate preparation and support.
Where are you feeling unprepared versus a lack of readiness?