One of the things that I am adamant about when it comes to improving your business and personal life is the importance of always being ready. To quote the actor and musician Will Smith, “if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready”.

This quote is not only a brilliant phrase to say back to your partner when they think you’re not dressed in the morning, but you are, but it has real-life benefits, too. But I will get to those shortly.

There are several reasons why you might read this today. Maybe you are looking for some simple, positive changes that you can make to your life that will hugely impact your personal and business progression. If that’s you, I’ve got just what you need.

Maybe you are reading this because you have heard about my 10 Daily Habits, and you want to hear how they can work for you? I got that covered, too.

Whatever your reason for reading my blog, thank you.

The aim of this blog is simple, to improve your life. Honestly, I can improve your life. Like all of my work that came before this, I focus on making people’s lives better. Bold claims, I am very aware, but I can back it up.

I am a husband, father of three, former international athlete and coach, business psychologist, author of two books.
I want you to know that everything I talk about in my blog I practice every day.

I am not a “do as I say” whilst I talk down to you from my high horse because I don’t like heights or horses but because I am here with you on this journey.

In this blog, I want to talk about being ready. So. Are you ready?… No, I’m seriously asking you.

Let’s get back to those real-life benefits of always being ready that I mentioned earlier.

If, when you’re flying, you know where the emergency exits are and you listen to the safety briefing, you are statistically more likely to survive a plane crash. As a less sinister example, you’re more likely to pass an exam if you revise for an exam. And on a completely bizarre, but I believe still an essential comparison, if you make a plan for how you and your loved ones will survive a Zombie Apocalypse, you have a much higher chance of not being one of the baddies in 28 Days Later.

I will not tell you my escape plan for the Zombie Apocalypse, which is between my family and me and the man who helped me build my bunker. Today, we will discuss the importance of always being ready and how you can make a few changes to improve your work and home life dramatically.

When I always say ready, I mean prepared mentally, physically, and in any other way required to meet your obligations and any action you need to take to make progress.

Always ready refers to thinking ahead to what’s coming and making decisions that set you up for success. It means making decisions that will positively impact the “you” that has to wake up first thing in the morning and not giving in to the “you” that fancies another three episodes of Narcos even though it’s 1:30 am and you’ve got a meeting at 9 am.

So what can we do to make sure we’re always ready? I will start with the most simple but often neglected habit that I need to encourage you to get into—drinking water. 2 litres a day. Every living thing needs water to survive, yet with the incredible arrogance that is only ever found in the human race, we try and survive without it. And we do so at our peril. Our bodies are 70% water, and I am sure you know this, but the only people who are allowed to feel smug about knowing it are those who drank 2 litres of water yesterday. If you didn’t, please stop reading, get yourself a glass and fill it up at the sink, then you can feel smug because you’re wise and you’re more hydrated.

It’s also essential to make sure that you’re eating the right things that you need to stay ready. Of course, I’m aware of the challenges that come after a busy day. The one where you face a choice of cooking a nutritious meal from scratch or ordering a burger and chips to your door whilst scrolling through Facebook to see which of the people you went to school with have aged the worst.

I know the temptation of that because a burger and fries are delicious, and seeing your class bully look dreadful is satisfying, but I am urging you to invest in the person who needs to wake up and smash tomorrow, not the one feeling tired now. It’s all about breaking destructive cycles and giving ourselves the best shot at success. These changes aren’t going to kick in overnight, and they take training.

Now, I have a sports background; I played hockey and was a professional hockey coach. Training is a vital part of success. You would never expect to get the best results without practice, discipline and hard work.

You also warm up before the match, physically and mentally. You take the time to prepare your body and thoughts. You gather with your team and have one final message from the coach before going out there and trying to win. If you arrive at the match with half your gear missing, tight hamstrings and a hangover, you’re not giving yourself the best chance of playing well or being picked to start the next game. The same applies to success in business. It takes training and determination. If you want to succeed, you need to be ready, always.

When we see others succeed, it’s easy not to think about all the hard work it took them to get there. When a sprinter wins a gold medal, we only see them run that race. The reality is, they have been running to get to that point their whole lives. They have been making decisions to give themselves the best chance of winning the medal at that moment when all the lights are on them, but the hard work, the years of dedication and the blood, sweat and tears it takes to achieve victory? We don’t get to see that. One, because it sounds horrible and boring, but two, if you’re a spectator, you only want to see who the winner is, not what it took them to get there. They have been getting ready for that moment for their whole lives.

When it comes to the other side of the coin in terms of running, I think about the Marathon. Maybe you know this already, but I only found this out recently, so I’m sharing it with you. It’s called a marathon because, in 490BC, a Greek soldier and messenger ran from the battlefield in the city of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Greeks had defeated the Persians and won the battle. Tragically, he died almost immediately after. And that’s why you’ve got to train and get ready for a marathon. You might be able to achieve what you wanted to achieve but at a considerable cost.

Being always ready is a trait we’ve inherited from our ancestors that has allowed us to survive. Our ancestors were mindful; they were present because if they weren’t, they were in danger. If they weren’t concentrating when they were finding their lunch, they could have become the lunch. Luckily, the chances of your cheese ploughman’s turning the tables on you are very slim. But being mindful about what you are putting in your body and how it could affect you is still important. You need to think of your food as fuel and make the right choices always to be ready.

Being mindful is challenging. We are so used to pushing ourselves as hard as we can without adequately preparing. We can be guilty of overextending or overexerting ourselves and leaving nothing in the tank.

I’m not saying you have to constantly be in a fight or flight state of mind or have a bag packed to make a quick getaway. Still, if we bring this back to business, it is essential to be as prepared as possible and ready for anything. Give yourself the best chance at success by striving for it every day, with all the choices you make. Remember to be present, rest and recharge, eat well and stay hydrated, lift heavy things once or twice a week, so you stay strong, predict and avoid any possible mistakes, and plan for success.

I hope this has given you a bit of focus and clear, achievable goals that will help you put your best foot forward. If you’re heading in to work now, take a few moments to centre yourself, take a few deep breaths, have some water, and attack the day. If you’ve got a day off, do the same. Stay present and always be ready.

Thanks for reading my blog. How do you stay ready?

Start with my ten daily habits.

Download the 10 Daily Habits for free HERE