When Preparation Meets Opportunity: 5 Benefits of Being Equipped to Follow Through
Before jumping into this article, allow me to highlight the meaning of one key word: follow through.
Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
From years of playing varsity basketball, the sport taught me many lessons—one being that the follow-through is extremely important when it comes to heightening the success rate of every shot. If a player isn't prepared, the opportunity to make the basket may be missed. And if the ball is passed and received by a player who isn't ready to correct their form and make the jumper with a follow-through, the team risks the chance of hitting an inaccurate shot.
But if basketball isn't your thing, you're likely trying to figure out if it makes sense to carry on wading through this article. But please be assured, there's significance in the references used. There's a lesson with a principle that applies both on and off the court. Daily, many of us get overwhelmed by all that life throws at us. We get extremely caught up with what we have to get done, how we're going to get it done and when we need to get it done. We wind up forgetting to take the time to properly prepare in order for us to execute effectively. Preparation enhances performance.
Being equipped to follow through with the follow-through earns us access to five key benefits. When your follow-through game is strong, you're better equipped to:
1.) Be strategic.
Planning with a strategy in mind helps give you a tactful advantage over your approach—whether it's in the area of business, budgeting, studying, job searching or time management. In this stage, you're able to mark your goals and targets, create a timeline and map out your action plan with effective steps that will help lead you closer to achieving your objectives. This also requires you to look at the landscape of what you're working with. What skills and resources do you have at your disposal and how can you leverage them to get the results you desire? What are your weaknesses and potential barriers that stand in the way of you following through? How can you overcome recognizable risks and limitations? These are all great questions to consider.
With a strong strategy, you're better equipped to call the play and get the ball in motion.
2.) Anticipate opportunity.
In a game, there are many dynamics at play and it can get challenging keeping up with all of the momentum. When a player trains to be prepared in skill and mindset, he/she expands his/her ability to anticipate different opportunities to break open and receive the shot. The same can be said about life. When we're focused on multiple projects or when we're overwhelmed by numerous deadlines, we often lose sight of our main goals. We don't take the time to step back and look at the scope of the projects we're working on or the things we've listed on our agendas. This leaves little room for us to assess where we can prioritize the things we must complete or determine how to leverage our time to make room for unanticipated detours, delays or emergencies.
When we prepare, we're able to anticipate where the next opportunity will stem from. Moreover, we make ourselves available and positioned—doing things such as investing in learning a new skill to better qualify for a particular position; budgeting expenses in order to save and purchase professional software or equipment; or moving to a new city that has a strong product market. It's always a good habit to show up prepared. Even if what you map out isn't put into play, it's likely that it will be useful to you or someone else in the future.
3.) Focus on the follow-through.
Focus is vital. If you don't have a target and you're shooting aimlessly with no vision, you're sure to get worn out. Although all your efforts may be genuine, they won't amount to much if you're not aiming in the right direction to gain a specific result. Knowing where your target is and focusing on your execution will lead you closer to your goal.
4.) Prepare for the rebound.
Not every shot you take will make it. You won't always score the point but when you're in a position to follow through, your mindset is often focused, prepared and guarded from distractions. Once your shot is released—once you launch that project, once you hit the send button on that application, your next move is preparing for the outcome of that action.
There'll be some misses, but when you're prepared for the rebound you always have options. You have a chance to decide whether to make another attempt or carry out your back-up plan, which would have been set in the early stages of planning out your initial approach and creating alternate strategies to recover.
5.) Increase your wins.
When you're prepared for the follow-through, the win is at your disposal. The more wins you achieve, the more you build your repertoire and expand your terrain for greater opportunities to succeed. The more you hit the mark with purpose and intention, the more your influence is felt. Your achievements have the power to break beyond boundaries and influence others. So, being equipped for the win is absolutely essential.
It's time to step up the game. This year, we're getting to the root of bad habits and harmful cycles, beginning with self-accountability. Pointing fingers at everything and everyone other than ourselves is easy, but it typically results in little to no change in the areas of our lives that need the most mending. While it's true that there may be other contributing factors to unsuccessful attempts, the reality is, we can only be most effective in the areas we have control over. Which means if we're focused on changing things that fall outside of this territory, we're likely misdirecting our energy.
Let's make this a year of wins. Let's not limit progress by failing to be ready when the ball is in our possession.