Have you ever failed at something because you weren’t prepared in the way you need to be?
Sometimes we assume that because we’ve had past successes we don’t need to be prepared this time around. For example, my friend Jimmy, a motivational speaker, was standing in front of his audience giving a presentation when he froze. Not a single word came out of his mouth. It was as though he had never given a speech before. In that moment, he wasn’t the charming and engaging public speaker who in the past had brought audiences to laughter and tears within a fifteen-minute time span. In that moment he wasn’t bigger than life – he was just human. Very human.
What happened was he didn’t prepare. He didn’t know his audience and didn’t do the necessary prep work required of a participant-centered professional. Instead, he thought he could wing it. In the past he got always with it. This time he didn’t.
How easy is it to think that because you’ve done something many times you don’t need to prepare – even a little bit. The ego says, “I know all there is to know.” That’s a setup for failure, because even if you know the material, you audience changes, and material constantly needs to be updated and made current. I’ve led legal training seminars for several years, and while I know my material backward and forward, my group is always different and I like to stay current and interesting. For that reason I am always preparing.
Have you ever failed at something because your ego got in the way? Perhaps because you thought you were too smart to need to study? What lesson did you learn from that experience? Do you continue to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result?
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