Skip to main content

Prep, Execute, Learn

Send your grain across the seas, and in time, profits will flow back to you.  But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead. 
(Ecclesiastes 11:1-2 NLT)

Colin Powell said success was the result of preparation, hard work, but probably most important was this whole concept of learning from failure. We will "try" things and not do as well as we wanted to when we set things in motion with whatever that was supposed to turn out like in the end. We will "try" to make things better in relationship, only to find we still don't possess the "right stuff" we thought we needed - causing us to reach out beyond ourselves if we want things to go any further or get any better than what they are under our own "trial and error" steps. We will "try" to learn to play an instrument, but soon find it takes much more than learning the names of notes on the paper or the location of those notes on the keyboard or strings. Prepare well. Put in the effort. In the off-chance you don't quite "hit the mark" as well as you hoped to, return to the preparation phase and begin again! You aren't finished just because you failed - you are just beginning something new!

No matter how well we plan or how significant our preparations are, we find ourselves committed to a whole lot of hard work to get to the results we desire. This is just part of what it takes to see a job done well, or a relationship knit together in such a deep fashion so as it won't fall apart with the first storm that comes your way. The three are integral in "building" anything that is going to last beyond the "dream" or "imagination" phase - we have to prepare, put in the effort, and realize we might fail - but if we take what we learn from the failure and apply it to how we prepare the next time, we might see different steps which must be taken in order to get different results. As the old adage goes - if we do what we've always done, we'll get what we've always gotten. We cannot expect different results if we don't learn how to alter our preparations and change the way we "do the work"!

While our advice from the scriptures today deals with "investments", let's not close our minds to the fact we have "investments" in much more than stocks and bonds, IRAs and 401Ks. We have investments in family, friends, work relationships, metrics by which we analyze the outcome of our work in our jobs, etc. There are lots and lots of ways we "spread ourselves" among the things we are invested in right now and where we will be placing our invested energies next week. We need to learn to make those investments count - not just spread ourselves so thin between them that we don't really put much into the preparation, execution, and observations we put into or take away from these investments. The more we learn to do a little up-front prep work, the better our execution. The couple who plans the date does a much better job of clearing the way for the date to be a success. The employee who maps our the workflow before undertaking a huge change with the process design learns what steps are integral to the "end result".

God isn't impractical in his "advice" found in scripture. It makes sense! It helps us to take the common, everyday stuff of life and put it into order, so we get the results we hope for in the end. If we don't get those results, either we need to adjust our expectations, or we need to adjust the steps we are taking in order to get them! Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce