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Are you prepared

Are you prepared?
In my 16th year, my dad and I embarked on a memorable journey together. Actually, it was more of an adventure for us both. We took the train to Inverness and for the next 5 days, we leisurely cycled the 160 miles or so back home.
In between, we camped at a few scenic spots by some beautiful Lochs and stayed in a couple of Youth Hostels along the way. I’ll never forget the camping because of dad’s snoring! It really was bad…!
I have very fond memories of those days, including the heavy rain and beautiful warm sunshine on one particular day in Spean Bridge.
I recall visiting, for the first time the Commando Memorial there. The monument commemorates the British Commando Forces who trained in and around the Lochaber area during WWII.
As I recollect looking at the memorial, I thought about how well prepared and fully equipped those soldiers were with all of their military gear at the ready.

Preparation

I can also remember thinking about how dad and I had prepared for our trip together. The careful attention to specific details that we’d considered to ensure we were safe by carrying the essential equipment that we’d need on our cycling journey together.
Looking back now, the pannier bags on our bicycles were filled to maximum capacity with all kinds of essentials, because we were fully equipped for any eventuality that could potentially arise – and simply stated we didn’t want to be caught out in the middle of nowhere!
Dad passed away in 2005.
Unbeknown to him now, he sowed the seeds of a little tradition in our own family. As each of our children entered their 16th year, we embarked on planning and preparing for a special trip…..with dad. My time with Kyle, Megan and Cristi are days I will cherish forever.
Time is never for sale; it is a commodity that cannot, try as you may, be bought at any store for any price. Yet when time is wisely used, its value is immeasurable, just like those days with dad, all those years ago.
We live in challenging times…
Are you prepared?

Expect the Unexpected!

Things don’t always turn out the way you planned!
On Tuesday, we waited at the arrivals gate at Schiphol Airport for our 5 new missionaries, arriving on three different flights from the USA.
“Are you sure its gate 3?”
A careful check (again) of the arrival gates clearly showed that 2 new missionaries arriving on different flights, would arrive at Gate 3 and the other 3 missionaries (on the same flight) would arrive at Gate 4.
Time passed….
No missionaries.

Hmm?

Then a message from Eldon McClure.
“Hey, President Watson? I’m at Schiphol, just got through customs. Who is going to pick me up, and where do I meet them?”
We concluded he’d arrived at gate 4, not gate 3, passed us by and arrived at the information point.
Off I went to pick him up. One down, four to go.
Back to gate 3.
Still no further missionaries.
Our Assistants go to gate 4 “just in case” for the next arrival due at Gate 3.
A few moments later they walk back to gate 3, with our new arrival Alexandra Williams.
Two down, three to go.
A check again of the arrivals board.
Yes, they are all due in at Gate 4.
So, in turn, all of us head to Gate 4.
Time passed.
“Are you sure its gate 4?”
“…Yes, take a look yourself…!”
“We’ll go to gate 3, just in case…,” said the Assistants.
More time passed.
Then a call from the Assistants, our final three Janessa Anderson, Jaislyn Kimball and Emerson Randle arrive at gate 3!
Our reactions… to the confusion?
We all laughed, hugged and chatted away.
Welcome to the Netherlands! 😆
Over the last 15 months, my new philosophy on things in general (and especially at Schiphol) is this,
…to be constantly aware of the reality that most things aren’t going to turn out how you expect!
𝐄𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝!
What do you do when things don’t go as you expect?

Cramming!

𝐇𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐜𝐫𝐚𝐦𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐲?
Cramming – “to study intensively over a short period of time just before an examination.”
For many I know, these last few weeks has been cramming season.
The date of the exam is looming.
It can become a state of panic for many.
Its all about stuffing a lot of information into our short-term memory for that up-and-coming exam.
However, during cramming season, we try really hard to quickly absorb some lessons which should have been learned a long, long time ago.
Admittedly there are on many occasions’ success, followed by an abiding forgetfulness of those things just crammed in!
As to the process of cramming, not only do we see it in schools and universities – we see it in life too.
Like students, many people neglect, postpone, and procrastinate things that we should be doing every day.
Just like school or university, there always comes of course a time of examination for all of us in our life.
Life brings frequent trials, tests, and choices.
Don’t procrastinate the important matters of life, remember 𝐧𝐨𝐰 is the time to prepare!
Don’t end up in a state of panic….
It is essential to be diligent in doing what should be done now – while it is called today.
What should you be doing every day?

Safety, Instruction and Preparation

Jumping, or more accurately, ‘falling’ out of a plane is easy, but the carefully delivered instruction, leaves you in no doubt of the risks involved.
Finally, on Saturday, Cristi and I completed a tandem parachute jump for Mary’s Meals, raising £2K to boot. I’ll share a video and images later this week, but I want to say something about the rigorous due process of instruction and safety.
Before stepping on the plane, we read several Health & Safety documents, completed a risk assessment of virtually every kind of risk known to man.  We declared ourselves COVID free and then spent time going through our basic training, before being signed off, ready to take off. We were both left in no doubt about the serious risk to life of a parachute jump, hence the strict training instruction and multitude of safety checks that followed.
The training covered the essential things we must know, including the safety harness, a detailed overview of the main parachute and the reserve. It was reassuring when the instructor said that he’d never had to deploy the reserve “in over 2000 jumps”. Then he quipped “so I’m overdue one now!” – we all laughed, nervously…
Key was exiting the plane, position in free fall and lifting your legs on landing, so you don’t break any bones.
Our exacting preparations were key to our success, as it is with many things in life…
More to follow…..

Be Prepared

“Remind me again, what did he wear on the old scooter?” I asked mum, as we laughed together.

So, it was last night as we reminisced about dad’s scooter.  Growing up in Dunfermline in the late 1960’s I recall my dad in his train driver uniform leaving for work.  By the end of the 60’s all of the steam trains were replaced with diesel engines.  As the engines changed, dad also had to switch depots and ended up having to travel to Alloa for every shift, a round trip of 35 miles or so.  Dad never passed his driving test until the early 80’s, so every journey was made on his little scooter.

In the wintertime, the ride was not only treacherous on the old country roads of the time, but it was also a very cold one.  Before he set off for a night shift, on the chilliest of evenings, I recall dad padding and lining his jacket, sleeves, and trouser legs with old newspapers to lessen the biting winter cold and the piercing winds.  A simple old-fashioned way to stay warm, and his preparation was key.

A few years later as a young boy scout, I remember learning the motto of “be prepared”, which has remained as a constant with me throughout my life in all that I do.

Our world of 2021 is filled with uncertainty and I am sure for all of us, many more chilly and difficult nights are still ahead as we journey through the challenges life will bring.

So, are you ready for the next challenge and what can you do right now to be better prepared?

How are you being finely-tuned?

Are you being 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐥𝐲-𝐭𝐮𝐧𝐞𝐝 ?

Over the last 2 days, I have spent nearly 8 hours each day on a brand new managing your team virtual learning programme. It has been a stretching experience, long hours, a few headaches and a little bit of pressure thrown in for good measure too. All that said it has been extremely insightful too.

Yesterday, as each of the virtual facilitators took it in turn to deliver a 75 minute section, we carefully listened and participated throughout the learning session. As each facilitator concluded their delivery, one by one, we took it in turns to provide feedback. It was a great experience to receive an in the moment peer review. I came away feeling as if I was being 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐥𝐲-𝐭𝐮𝐧𝐞𝐝 !

To fine-tune means: “to make small adjustments to (something) in order to achieve the best or a desired performance”

At the conclusion of the day, each of us thanked our virtual trainer for her guidance and assistance throughout. I came away feeling more prepared, more confident, more assured and primed ready to step up into action!

How are you preparing for your forthcoming assignments and how are you being 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐥𝐲-𝐭𝐮𝐧𝐞𝐝?

Preparation

Are you ready to lead? Are you sure? Why should anyone be led by you?

Many years of preparation and following others had led to that moment. A challenging situation, required decisive action. When the call came, I was ready. Instinctively I knew what to do. A leader steps up to make difficult decisions.

Don’t wait for an invitation – see the potential in yourself! If you’re starting out your career, say “yes” when someone sees the leader in you and offers you a chance to practice and develop new leadership skills. I recall many years ago, a wise leader said to me, “Daryl, what are you doing here?” It was a powerful challenging call to action, and it set my career direction. He and I both knew I needed to take another path – I just needed a push.

Are you aware of your personal values, do you know what they are? If not, then you need to know what is important in your life and what really matters most to you. How can you influence others if you don’t know what really matters to you?

Alexander Graham Bell observed “Before anything else preparation is the key to success.” Start early, be steady, observe, listen and learn how to follow. Be open to learning and growing.

What can you do now to prepare for the call to leadership? leadership