The Prepared Mind

I took a week’s vacation last week. I didn’t go anywhere. But I was directing an off-off-Broadway musical, and it was Tech Week (known more affectionately in the biz as Hell Week). After two months of a more leisurely rehearsal schedule, we had rehearsals every night until 11 pm.  The show opened on Friday night, and we needed to get everything just right — not just the performances but the costumes, sets, props, lighting, et al. — before meeting our first paying audience. I knew that if I was seeing clients during the day and tending to the show at night, both of them would suffer. So I gave myself permission to focus on just one.

Some of my actors and my crew, when they heard I was not working all week, said, “Oh, you’re so lucky!” I responded by joking that I could do it because I had such a nice boss (namely, me). But when I thought about it further, I realized that it wasn’t luck at all. It was planning.

Several of my clients requested appointments that week. It was hard for me not to accommodate them, and a few times I almost relented, as I have a sincere desire to support my clients and help them to be successful. But I stuck to my guns and told them I was going to be on vacation, and they all backed off and settled for an appointment another time.

One of my favorite expressions is “Chance favors the prepared mind.” What looks to others as luck is often the result of advance planning. For example, if you hear about a job opportunity but haven’t updated your resume in several years, you’re likely to miss the boat.

If there is something that you have been meaning to accomplish but have been making excuses as to why is hasn’t gotten done, consider marking it in your calendar and making it a priority. Then keep that appointment with yourself. If you don’t make the time to make your goals happen, nobody will do it for you.


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