When I was a young strapping lad, (I sound so old!) I attended cubs and loved it. As well as learning about bush craft and how to be a better person I had the motto of “Be Prepared” drummed into my head. Some people mistakenly believe that this motto only related to the outdoors, but they would be completely wrong.
“Being Prepared” was meant to be for all aspects of life. It was all about being prepared to do your best in every situation. For the past eighteen months, my wife Roselyn and I have been preparing for a five-day hike in the South Island of New Zealand. As well purchasing a whole lot of gear we instituted a regular exercise regime. Although it’s hard work it’s going to be well worth the effort.
Could you imagine embarking on a hike by just rocking up? You’d get to lunch and regret the food you left in the cupboard. This is how many people approach business meetings. They turn up without having prepared and expect a great outcome…..sadly, they will be mistaken.
I have a motto when it comes to business and that’s I always try and be more prepared than anyone else in the room. Given circumstances, this isn’t always possible but it’s an aspiration that I’m sure my cub leader would be proud.
The scout motto didn’t just finish with “Be Prepared” it continued on with, “Do our best!” Having a “best” mentality raises the standard not only for yourself but for all those around you. If you are leading a team and only put in your second best, then don’t expect those whom you lead to excel. They will look to you as their leader for inspiration and finding it lacking.
Let me share with you a story of an aid who had prepared a report for the American president. He proudly presented the report and the president asked him to put it on the resolute desk.
The next day the aid came back into the oval office and before he could say anything the president glanced at the report and asked, “Is that the best you can do?” The aid sheepishly picked up the report and shuffled out.
After working all night, he returned to the oval office with a very much improved report and presented it to the president. The president thanked the aid and the aid once again left the office.
The next day the president again asked, “Is that the best you can do?” and once more the aid picked up the report, worked all night and presented it the following day. For many days the same conversation happened and each day the aid worked like a Trojan to improve the report.
At the end of his tether the aid again presented the report. Just like all the other days, the president once asked, “Is that the best you can do?” At which point the aid let out a moan and replied, “Yes! It’s the best I can do!”
The president replied, “Then I’ll read it now.”
No matter what we do in life we need to be prepared to do our best. After reading this article I hope that you consider how you can do better in whatever you put your hand to this week….let’s be inspired by scout founder, Baden Powell.
For those of you that remember the cub motto, “Akela! We’ll do our best! We’ll Dyb-dyb-dyb (Do Your Best)! We’ll dob, dob, dob (Do Our Best).”