Thursday, June 26, 2008

Do you have enough in reserve?

This morning, the 4th and nearly last day of my daughter, Hanna's, soccer camp- we couldn't find the ankle pad for her shin guard. She's grown out of everything, we're down to one set of guards, and this one was incomplete. MUCH gnashing of teeth. MUCH grumbling. NEARLY tears. And the car pool approacheth...

We found the piece in her bag, just where it should have been. Must have been in the 4th dimension when she searched the 5 times before. Happy ending. She got to go kick the ball to get rid of the stressed-out feeling we both had, I had to choose to get over it. Seems like a little thing, but I absolutely hate being rushed in the morning and I loathe being late. Especially when I'm protecting my car pool credits.

So- what does this have to do with reserves? Usually, we make sure that all of the necessary gear is checked and available the night BEFORE we need it. Gives us enough time to deal with surprises. Keeps the process smooth. Creates a reserve of time for us in the morning. Prevents a withdrawal of energy related to stress.

Everyone has been told they need to have 6 months of cash in the bank to cover emergencies. Beyond cash, build reserves of everything. Fill your gas tank before it gets close to empty, earlier if you know you have to travel. If your anniversary is coming, make a dinner reservation. Give yourself a cushion of time when you promise a deliverable on a certain date. If you have a killer trial schedule, clear as much from your calendar as you can, and be sure to plan time to eat and sleep. Before the trial starts, stock up on rest and make sure your relationships are in good shape. Create a reserve of good will, you'll need it!

The concept is to prepare. Prevent surprises and handle things that might be issues before they have a chance to become issues. Start paying attention to the levels of reserve you're maintaining. Protect them. Inventory and add to your reserves when it makes sense.

"Paying attention" doesn't sound like a legitimate action step. Agreed. However- all change begins with perception and awareness. In my long experience with change efforts, both professional and personal, paying attention is an excellent place to start.