When we prepare for the next step whether it’s small or big, it’s more likely that we’ll move forward successfully. Getting ready looks different for each of us. I was curious about my colleagues’ experiences, so I reached out to this wonderful group – Valentina Sgro, Cameron Gott, Anne Blumer, Seana Turner, Janet Barclay, and Sue West. I asked them, “How do you prepare for next?” Their responses are diverse and inspiring. My deepest gratitude goes to each of them for sharing their wisdom with us.
How do you prepare for next? . . .
“Daydreaming is my key element when 'preparing for next.' Some might use the word ‘visioning,’ but that doesn’t quite capture it for me. I don’t like surprises; I like a lot of lead time. That allows me to do a lot of daydreaming, playing out in my mind the different ways the ‘next’ thing can look or be. Sure those thoughts lead to some solid information-gathering to form a plan of action, but it’s the creation of alternate scenarios in my mind that guide me to the path I want to take. Maybe that’s why I’ve become a novelist.”
Valentina Sgro – Author of Patience Oaktree organizing novels and short stories
“I’m relatively new to the game of ‘prepare for next’ since most of my years I was a card carrying member of the ‘back into next’ club. As a decent responder I’d react and respond my way into what was next - school, relationships, professions. I’d let my positive and negative emotions dictate my next move. I would often over extend myself. Now I practice a more proactive stance and embrace preparation as an absolute for what is next.”
Cameron Gott, PCC – Mentor Coach, ADHD Coaching for Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs
“As I ponder on the question, ‘How do you prepare for next?’ my mind immediately jumps to, how will I prepare for the next chapter in my life? In one year my son and daughter will both graduate from college. We recently have lost one family pet and now our golden retriever has days, maybe weeks to live. I find the next chapter is preparing myself for a very, very empty nest. To prepare, I¹m going to celebrate with my children their achievements and their next chapter. And, I will make a book of memories of our family pets to commemorate them. In short to prepare for next, I celebrate and commemorate.”
Anne Blumer, CPO® – Professional Organizer, Author & Blogger
“The tricky thing about ‘next’ is that it’s shrouded in uncertainty. This can be intimidating, because it feels a bit out of control. For me, preparing for what’s next includes spending time considering various scenarios, and how I would like to respond. We never know what is behind the next door, but we can put some structure around how we will open the door, the way we will take our first steps, who we might walk with, and what will bring along. It’s also helpful to minimize daily, ambient chaos to free up the energy we need to tackle something new.”
Seana Turner – Professional Organizer, Blogger & Life Coach
“I can become overwhelmed by new projects or big changes in my life or my business, but making a list of every task that has to be completed helps me to stay in control. Instead of waiting until I have a huge chunk of available time to focus on the project, I can delegate some tasks and chip away at others as my schedule allows and get to the next step without having to neglect other personal and professional commitments.”
Janet Barclay, MVA – Web Designer, Virtual Assistant & Blogger
Visualize and Verbalize
“If I cannot visualize myself in a new situation or mindset, that’s my clue that I have more to prepare. It could be that I have not internalized the new situation and its impact or the presentation’s content, the project’s steps, or the client’s particulars. Project management and coaching also teach us that we cannot control every reaction, detail, or situation. Bigger risks I process aloud with a trusted individual. Lesser risks, I use self-talk, a voice recorder, or mind mapping. All are ways to get everything out of my head, see the full picture and create space to think, prepare and question.”
Susan Fay West, COC®, CPO-CD® – Certified Organizing Coach, ADHD Coach & Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization
What great tips my colleagues shared about preparing for next. Several ideas center on having ponder-time. Other ideas include celebrating, making lists, and talking out loud. For me, next often begins with thinking, writing, or conversing. Which ideas resonate with you? How do you prepare for next? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!