A Quick Note About a Cliche That Means Something

Are you ever reading something when a sentence is so unclear, so poorly constructed, or such a cliché that it just stops you dead? That happened to me the other day. I was reading something (don't quiz me; I can't remember what it was) when I stumbled across the phrase "Ready, willing, and able." I've read it as many times as you have without even paying attention. But this time, for some reason, I stumbled, bothered by the author's use of the cliché.

And then I looked more closely and I realized just how profound that phrase, used correctly, really is. Being truly ready, willing, and able covers a lot of ground.

Ready: You are in a state of preparedness for a task. You are not avoiding it. You see it as the next step in whatever progression must be made. And you need nothing more than the starting gun's eruption to begin movement.

Willing: You actually want the task. Maybe it didn't start that way. Or maybe it was your idea all along.   No matter the origin, you are in a state where you have not only acquiesced, but look forward to the challenge.

Able: The hidden element; the thing we take for granted. How often have you started the simplest project just assuming you could do it, and then find yourself workpaper deep in alligators? On the other hand, how often do you run from a project assuming you don't have the ability? And, in those situations, how much preparation would it have really taken to have the ability? Did you stop at "able" when it was the least of your worries?

Success for any project begins by living the cliché; it begins by being ready, willing, and able.

Next time you are taking on a project, whether it is the lowliest petty cash audit or some highfalutin' consulting project, make sure you've got alignment of those three attributes. Ask yourself if you are really ready, if you are really willing, and if you are really able.

Posted on Feb 28, 2014 by Mike Jacka

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