What happens when an opportunity arises and you know you’re not ready for it?

There’s the age old Zig Zigler quote that says “Success is when opportunity meets preparation”, and I generally agree with this.

But what happens when you’re not prepared? What happens when an opportunity arises and you know you’re not ready for it?

Are you just going to sit there and allow it to pass? Watch it fly by without doing anything? Sit in the comfort of your excuses and console yourself that “now wasn’t the right moment?”

Personally, if an opportunity comes my way, I have to take a swing. I’d rather chase after an opportunity with 50% preparation and see what happens than watch it fly by entirely.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not making a case for being unprepared. Obviously you would rather be prepared going into something, as it increases your likelihood for success.

But sometimes life requires that we take action. An opportunity arises, you’re unprepared, and you have no way to get yourself prepared quickly.  In these situations we must head into battle even when we know that we’re unprepared.

For example, I recently had the opportunity to try my first Highline Slackline….something I have been training to do for the last year.

BUT – I was injured. Didn’t feel like my skills were ready for the challenge yet. Didn’t feel like I had a strong enough foundation on some of the basics. I wasn’t prepared.

Was I going to let this experience pass me by?! FUCK NO!

Ready or not, here I come.

I wasn’t ready to deal with the regret of having not done something I know that I need and want to do with all of my heart.

While I might get another opportunity to highline sometime soon, will it be the same line? Same setup? Same people?

Life and experiences are impermanent, and this unique opportunity right now won’t come up again. It’s in our hands to decide if we act or retreat into the comfort of safety.

I went, and it was an experience I’ll never forget. My lack of preparation prevented me from performing at my best, but all the same I’m happy that I jumped at the opportunity and took learnings from it.

Whether or not you’re prepared is irrelevant – the opportunity is here and you have to jump in the ring.

This reminds me of the Tim Ferriss Podcast episode with Triple H, in which he recalls a story with Floyd Mayweather. In the episode he recalls hanging out with Floyd directly before a fight, and Floyd is relaxing watching a basketball game. When Triple H asks him “are you sure you don’t need to get ready?”, Floyd replies…

“Hunter, I’m telling you, I’m just chilling, watching the game.” And I said, “You’re not wound up about this at all?” And he goes, “Why would I be wound up? I’m either ready, or I’m not. Worrying about it right now ain’t gonna change a damn thing. Right? Whatever’s gonna happen’s gonna happen. So I’ve either done everything I can to be ready for this, or I’m not.”

Either I’m ready or I’m not – the only way I will know is by jumping into the opportunity and giving it a shot.

It’s great when everything falls into place at the right timing and we’re prepared and everything works out magically, but from my experience life rarely happens that way.

Don’t let your perceived lack of preparation prevent you from jumping at those opportunities. Even when you’re not prepared you can still make it work.

Even if it doesn’t work you can relish in the satisfaction that you TRIED. You jumped at it. You didn’t allow the fear to debilitate you.

That’s why you need to be mentally prepared to be unprepared. The more you accept and understand the lack of preparation, the more you can bridge the gap.

Jump at opportunities even if you don’t feel like you’re ready – they won’t all hit, but they will all move you closer to your end goals 🙂

Also published on Medium.

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