I had a great conversation with Jonathan Edwards yesterday afternoon. He is the host of an awesome Podcast, The Business Called You and he was recording an upcoming Podcast episode (stay tuned for an update). We talked about a lot of things in just 60 minutes but I wanted to share one of the topics that has really stuck with me: Awareness.

He asked a great question:

How can we prepare ourselves for something that may blindside us? How can we prepare for something we cannot see?

Now, for those of you who know me, I can talk easily but this question gave me pause. How can we prepare for something we don’t know is coming? Jonathan asked this question because he is a former Olympic athlete and coaches Olympic hopefuls. Part of his training is getting the athletes to a point where they have reserves; reserves that are mental and physical. His logic was if an athlete is maxed out then they don’t have any ‘wiggle’ room to push harder or farther if something else comes their way.

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And it got me thinking…this is a great way to share the idea of Awareness. Some say it’s near impossible to prepare for something you can’t see or that you don’t know is coming. But, like Jonathan tells the athletes that they need reserves, I say that we can work every day to be positive, live with intention and contribute. And here’s the interesting part. If you work every day to put yourself into a positive mindset, i.e., acknowledge negative thoughts or ideas but choose to not give them more time and weight than they deserve, then we are ‘charging’ ourselves up to have the extra gas to handle an unexpected situation or challenge or obstacle.

I realize this sounds great in theory, but what about every day life? Life happens and it’s not all butterflies and rainbows. I can’t always be positive, you might say; or, my life is hard; or, you haven’t walked in my shoes so how can you tell me to be positive?

All of these are valid arguments, but I respectfully disagree. It is true you may not always be positive, but you do have a choice for how much time and weight you allow your negative thoughts and feelings to have. It’s your choice to stay mad at someone for something they said. It’s also your choice to be upset and then move on – and not give extra time to your negative feelings.

And all of this leads to Awareness. Are you aware of how often you have negative thoughts? Are you aware of how often you have positive thoughts? It’s definitely true that we may not always be able to prepare for things we cannot see. BUT, and this is a big but…you can put positive energy into your tank. The more your tank is filled up with positivity, the less room there is for doubt.

So, with that I leave you with this quote today from Stephen Covey as it encapsulates the idea of Awareness:

Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.