Last week I went backpacking in the high Cascades of Washington state. As I hiked I thought about the preparations I made to get to this beautiful place and how they helped me enjoy the moment. I had prepared physically and mentally and I had brought the right gear. At the end of the day, however, I realized that I brought too much food and my legs were very tired by the time I got back to the trailhead. In one instance I prepared too much and in another I did not prepare enough. In this post I will focus on the value of proper preparation for everyday activities and for life.
On The Run
A number of years ago I ran the Portland Marathon for the first time. I prepared by running smaller distances such as five and ten kilometers but I did not know how long a marathon would take. I had a goal of finishing in four hours or less. I came in at four hours and twenty minutes. In contrast, world-class athletes run it in two hours and fifteen minutes. In other words, they had finished, gone home, eaten lunch and taken a nap by the time I finished. I ran it again the next year just to see if I could meet my original goal. That year I came in at four hours and ten minutes and that is the last time I ran marathon. While I was prepared to finish the race I was not committed enough to put in the preparation necessary to meet my goal.
In our Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning short course we talk a lot about preparing for a possible business interruption or disaster. Each business needs to understand their tolerance for risk and how prepared they need to be. A hospital, for example, needs to be prepared for any risk since lives might be in danger in a disaster. By contrast, a taco stand only risks losing a small amount of revenue in the event of a disruption so the continuity preparation is not as great. There are different levels of preparation and it is important to understand what level is needed in various scenarios.
One of the goals of the AIM program is to prepare students to meet the challenges of tomorrow, next year, and for life. Our curriculum is broad, but also deep in areas in which students need experience to perform their daily tasks and work with others to accomplish their goals. AIM students are preparing now for future challenges and opportunities.
In reflecting on these ideas I have come to realize that there are degrees of preparation and I need to understand how much is needed and how much I am willing to invest. Sometimes I prepare too little and expect a different outcome and sometimes I prepare too much and end up having to carry a heavier pack. Are you prepared enough for opportunities coming your way? Is there anything more you need to add to make sure you are ready? Let me know your thoughts.
Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.