Preparation is Good — Procrastination is Not

There is nothing sadder than unfulfilled potential. That’s why I work so hard these days even as most of my contemporaries are starting to slow down.  As I look back at my life I realize that I could have accomplished a lot more than I have.  And I haven’t done poorly.

That’s why this article caught my attention.

The question at the end of the article, “How might too much preparation block success?” is interesting.

I’m a big believer in the power of preparation.  In fact, one of my earliest mentors told me that “preparation makes up for a lack of talent.”  This advice has served me well over the years.  I’m usually the best prepared guy in the room.

On the other hand, procrastination is a problem.  I think that this is what Dan Rockwell, the author of the article, is trying to get at.  We can deceive ourselves into thinking that we are preparing when in fact we are procrastinating.  I often tell my clients that “procrastination is the physical manifestation of fear.”  We procrastinate, sometimes in the name of preparation, because we are afraid of the consequences of taking action.  We might fail.  We might get rejected.  Our efforts might not be good enough.

Some salespeople don’t make the calls they need to succeed.  They procrastinate by telling themselves they need to learn more about their product offering or their potential customer before they can go on a successful call.  Some task forces seem to drag on forever and ever,  Their members procrastinate by telling themselves that they need one or tow more pieces of information before they can come up with the best recommendation.  Some students are habitually late with their assignments.  They procrastinate by telling themselves that they need more time to do the research necessary to write the perfect paper.

In my experience these salespeople, task force members and students are procrastinating because they are afraid that their work won’t be good enough — that they’ll be judged harshly. The article talks about facing up to your discomfort and doing something.  In this case, you can think of discomfort as fear.

Successful people look their discomfort and fear in the eye and act.  They prepare properly — but not overly so.  Then they move forward.  The make the sales call.  They give the recommendation.  They submit the paper.

That’s what you need to do if you’re going to succeed in your life and career.  Push past discomfort.  Face your fears and act.  You’ll be on your way to reaching your potential and a successful and fulfilling life and career.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve.  Now I’m going one step further.  I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success.  And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free.  Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals.  I hope to see you there.

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