Ready Enough

Ready or Not

When I was in my twenties and working at my first corporate assignment, a manager shared a rule of thumb for planning your career: Aim for advancing to the next level once you have mastered 80% of your current job. While I considered this idea interesting, it went against my natural inclination which was to hold on to any current assignment, like a bulldog clenching a bone in its mouth, until I not only had mastered the job but also digested every last lesson there was to learn.

Years later, after working in the same department for significantly past the 80% mark, I was “beyond ready” for change. As I accepted a new role, I was tempted to view it as the solution, until my new boss commented, “This will be a nice rotation for you, Ginny.” The word “rotation” caught my ear and reframed the opportunity. It made me see that the assignment didn’t have to hold out the illusion of permanence for me to feel secure. There would be something to gain with this new experience and then another opportunity would evolve from this one, perhaps even sooner than expected. And that is exactly what happened.

Fixin’ To Get Ready

There is a Texan expression called “fixin’ to get ready”. Just like it sounds, it means there is some hesitant fidgeting going on. Even when opportunities that we’ve long wished for appear before us, we sometimes shrink before them, retreating to the corner and declaring we’re “not ready”. The feeling of not being ready is a natural part of growth. Our soaring spirits want to advance and then our stomachs feel those butterflies as our minds nervously calculate the risks.

The “fixin’ to get ready” syndrome shows up in a variety of ways. Here are just two examples I’ve witnessed recently: 1) A very accomplished professional who realized her continual pursuit of yet another credential was keeping her from going out and building her business; 2) The project manager at a consulting firm whose “not ready” nerves initially caused her to find fault with a very attractive job offer.

When you catch yourself “fixin’ to get ready” ask yourself: What would make me feel ready? You can then determine whether you are waiting for a guarantee that doesn’t exist or whether there are some legitimate actions to take to get you ready.

In What Way Are You Ready Enough?

There is a difference between acting rashly and taking a calculated risk. The former implies impulsiveness while the latter involves a conscious boldness.

This Week: Be aware of your own risk tolerance and play with it a little. Challenge yourself as you consider these two questions:

· In what area of my life am I ready enough to advance?
· What opportunity is presenting itself now for which I am ready enough?

“Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity;
they seem more afraid of life than of death.”
–James F. Byrnes

Here's to you,

© 2008, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to

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