The Difference Between Being Ready and Being Prepared (2023)

When we think about what the next step is that needs to be done to level up our work, our teams, or our business, we often think of if we are — or are not — ready for it, rather than if we are prepared for it. (Tip o’ the hat to Seth for drawing the prepared/ready distinction in Leap First.)

When many people think of being ready, what they’re thinking about is being emotionally ready. You may think you aren’t ready for the level-up because you don’t have quite as much expertise as someone else who’s done it before, you haven’t been in the game long enough, or you’ll wait until next week, next month, or next quarter for… whatever reason you’ve come up with today.

Being prepared means that you’ve done the work, and you’re at the point where no more research and advice is going to tell you what to do. You can spend years, even decades, waiting to be ready and be in exactly the same spot for all of those years. You just have to have the courage to jump and the faith in yourself to know that you can figure it out as you go.

Taking the Courageous Next Step

Having courage is one of the five keys I’ve discussed when overcoming your air sandwich. So when it comes to the concept of being ready vs. being prepared, being courageous is an important aspect to keep in mind.

(Video) Being Ready vs Being Prepared

Reminder: when you’re faced with different options or scenarios, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What’s the smartest next step?
  2. What’s the most courageous next step?

When answering honestly, most people will have dramatically different answers. So when you’re deciding between the two options, choose the one that requires more courage. The world doesn’t need more people with great ideas, or more people with potential. The world needs people taking the more courageous next step.

That means that there may be a hard conversation (or two) that you don’t want to have, but the harder the conversation, the more you’ll know that it’s likely the courageous option and the one that is imperative for your growth. And once you know this, it makes it a lot harder to take the safer route.

Your People Know You’re Prepared

When you encounter a situation where you know that you’re truly prepared, then you may need to think about whose voice is in your head that’s not letting you take that next step. Is it yours? Or is it someone else’s?

(Video) Episode 1 - The Difference in Being Ready and Being Prepared

And then contrast that with what your naysayers and success pack say and think. All too often, your success pack knows you’re prepared, and, in those places where you’re not, they’re prepared to help you.

While it’s not true 100% of the time, your success pack is usually right. When we think about the mission ahead, we often overweight our weaknesses and make them about our character, and underestimate our strengths and make them about luck. Your success pack sees more clearly that either the inverse is true or at least that the distribution is not so negatively weighted.

When in doubt, trust your success pack more than you trust your self-doubts.

Avoiding No-Win Scenarios

When we tell ourselves stories about why we aren’t ready to level up, we need to be sure to avoid no-win scenarios. These are the situations where no matter what we do, we don’t win. That even if we do achieve success, in that success we will find pain. That pain that you fear may be that your success will cause burnout, that you’ll lose connection with your family, or that you’ll have to continually struggle to keep up the success.

(Video) Shakisha Edness - Ready vs Prepared

So what do you do? You shoot for mediocrity. You don’t want to fail, but you don’t want to succeed, so you stay safe in the middle. This way, you don’t feel the pain of success or the pain of failure. While this may make sense in a particular moment from an emotional protection standpoint, over the course of your career or your life, this is where regrets come in. That we just sat on the bench because we were too afraid.

You know in your heart where your edges are, so when you think about your activities day in and day out, and these no-win scenarios start to creep in, ask yourself, “What if?” and “How?”. Prompting yourself this way will give you the grip to get away from these no-win scenarios.

What if you can do what you’re trying to do with joy, and without the pain?

How can you be successful in a way that brings you happiness, without struggle?

(Video) Difference between ready and prepared

The even deeper question that most of us aren’t ready to grapple with: in what ways is holding onto pain, struggle, failure, and perfectionism feeding stories we have about virtue and triumph?

We’re all afraid of failure, but when you think about it intellectually, what’s the worst that could happen? You might fail, sure, but you don’t have a track record of failing. You may have a track record of getting stuck in some things and crawling your way out, but not of failing. You’ve always been able to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and go forward with the lessons you’ve learned and the new insight gleaned from trying something new. No matter the outcome, having the courage to take that first step (ready or not!) is the only way to bring your best work into the world.

Take this as your sign to take a courageous step forward in leveling up your workcraft by joining the Academy Open House. The Academy is our online community for managers, entrepreneurs, leaders, and business owners to connect in community and learn, grow, and succeed (courageously!) together. We’re hosting our Open House April 19 – 23, to show you how beneficial the Academy can be for growing your career, team, or business. Registration ends soon, so sign up today.


What is the difference between readiness and preparation? ›

Readiness is a state of body (being); preparedness is a state of mind (thinking and doing). For example, you cannot be fully ready for an earthquake, but you can be prepared for one. Likewise, you cannot be absolutely ready for the uncertain future of education, but you can be prepared for what comes.

What does being prepared mean to you? ›

Being prepared means that you've done the work, and you're at the point where no more research and advice is going to tell you what to do.

What is an example of being ready? ›

Being ready is more of an actual state one is at mentally and or physically. I prepared all the ingredients and tools I need to cook the dinner this evening, so I will take a nap on the couch, before I have to start. I am ready to cook, since I got all tools I need and am already wearing my kitchen apron.

Does Ready mean prepared? ›

adjective, read·i·er, read·i·est. completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use: troops ready for battle; Dinner is ready.

What is the difference between being ready and prepared? ›

Ready is used for immediate action and Prepared is to get ready for a specific future motive or goal.

What does it mean to prepare for something? ›

transitive verb. : to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity. prepare food for dinner.

What is the importance of being prepared or ready? ›

There are real benefits to being prepared:

Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters. Communities, families, and individuals should know what to do in the event of a fire and where to seek shelter during a powerful storm.

What is the act of being prepared? ›

Preparation is the act of preparing — getting ready, planning, training, or studying with a goal in mind. If you know pre means before, then you have a clue to the meaning of preparation.

What does the Bible say about being prepared? ›

We must be prepared as Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word. Be ready to do it whether it is convenient or inconvenient. Correct, confront, and encourage with patience and instruction” (CEB). Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15,16, “When anyone asks you to speak of your hope, be ready …

What does it mean when a person is ready? ›

If someone is ready, they are properly prepared for something.

What does always being ready mean? ›

The Marine Corps may say that “Always Ready” encompasses total Marine fitness which includes: mind, body, spirit, and social fitness. Although the term “Always Ready” seems to have varying answers, they are all interchangeable and equally important.

How do you know that you are prepared? ›

If you are capable of solving the questions without looking for help in any books, it implies that you are prepared. If not, take note of the domains and categories where you think you still have a scope for improvement and practice harder.

What is another word for ready? ›

Synonyms of ready
  • go.
  • prepared.
  • fit.
  • set.
  • primed.
  • ripe.
  • qualified.
  • armed.

What does it mean to be prepared in life? ›

• It means that you are ready to do something important with your life and. find out who you are. • It means you're ready for life's challenges, past high school. • To be prepared for the future and what we will need to overcome these. issues and keep doing.

What does fully prepared mean? ›

ready and able to do something. prepared for: We have to be prepared for any eventuality. well/fully prepared: She will need to be well prepared for the task ahead.

What does need to be prepared mean? ›

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishbe prepared to do somethingbe prepared to do somethingto be willing to do something, especially something difficult or something that you do not usually do You have to be prepared to take risks in this kind of work.

What does it mean to do something without preparation? ›

Extemporaneous, extempore, impromptu, improvised are used of expression given without preparation or only partial preparation.

What does prepared mean Bible? ›

Preparing involves calling upon the Lord, coming to God in relationship, praying, seeking the Lord with all our heart.

Why is preparation so important? ›

Preparation prepares you for an opportunity, and you should not prepare yourself only when you have a project ahead. You should keep building your skills and knowledge even when there is no project. Keep learning, keep growing, and open your eyes. That way, when the opportunity comes, you will be ready to grab it.

What is an important part of being prepared? ›

Understanding what you are preparing for as a student and why you are doing it is essential. You should also know all the objectives and what you are trying to achieve. Understanding what you're doing can help you get a clearer picture. If you know where you want to go, then you will know what to focus on.

Why is preparation an important key to success? ›

Taking a step back and asking yourself how you can prepare best not only allows you to make progress with the final task but also reduces stress. If you can see how you are going to achieve something, the prospect becomes less daunting.

What is the power of preparation? ›

When you mentally prepare, it strengthens the belief that success is not only possible but also probable. By visualizing your desired result, it will help eliminate distractions and focus your mind. Because you have mentally rehearsed a successful outcome, it will also reduce anxiety.

What does it mean to be spiritually prepared? ›

What we will need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation. It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends. That test is part of the purpose God had for us in the Creation.

When God tells you to prepare? ›

The Bible says in Proverbs 24:27: “Prepare your work outside, get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.” Preparation is godly, Team. Let's stay on point and get ready for what the Lord is doing.

What Scripture says about planning and preparation? ›

Scripture Backs It Up

Proverbs 16:9 – The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 15:22 – Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed. Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

What does it mean to feel ready? ›

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishbe/feel ready for somethingbe/feel ready for somethingspoken to need or want something as soon as possible I'm really ready for a vacation.

Which word means the condition of being ready? ›

readiness. / (ˈrɛdɪnɪs) / noun. the state of being ready or prepared, as for use or action. in readiness.

What does it mean to be emotionally ready? ›

Emotional readiness encompasses a wide range of seemingly contradictory soft skills, including communication, humility, confidence, empathy, and general maturity. Despite this, there is a basic process for understanding what you might need to build emotional resilience and cultivating the necessary skills.

Where in the Bible does it say always be prepared with an answer? ›

1 Peter 3:15, NIV: But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

How do you describe someone who is prepared? ›

provident , prudent , cautious , shrewd , wise , careful , far-sighted , forearmed , sagacious , thrifty , economical , equipped , judicious , politic , sensible , canny , circumspect , commonsensical , frugal , vigilant , far-seeing , forehanded , foresighted , forethoughtful , expedient , prepared , sparing , ...

How does being prepared make you feel? ›

Indeed, people can associate preparedness with confidence also because most people actually do perform better and have more control when they are prepared compared to unprepared. As noted earlier, being prepared allows individuals to respond to challenges and opportunities better than when unprepared.

What does it mean to prepare yourself? ›

to make yourself ready to deal with a difficult situation: Prepare yourself for a shock.

What is readiness and preparedness? ›

Readiness is being prepared and “ready to go” or in other words, being able, because of “preparedness” to act immediately. Readiness seems to be the state of being prepared for something about to be done or experienced. Individuals learn best when they are physically, mentally, and emotionally ready to learn.

What are the four types of readiness? ›

  • Take time to take a PEEK at the four types of readiness to learn.

What is the concept of readiness? ›

The process of readiness involves recognizing the need to change, weighing the costs and benefits and, when benefits outweigh costs, planning for change. The desire to change and to take action determines clients' degree of readiness.

What is an example of readiness? ›

The quality or state of being ready. Readiness is the state of being prepared to act. An example of readiness is the state of a girl well-prepared to go on her first camping trip.

What is the real meaning of preparedness? ›

: the quality or state of being prepared. especially : a state of adequate preparation in case of war.

What is the purpose of readiness? ›

It means you are equipped with key skills you may need not only to survive but also to thrive in the next opportunity for learning. Far too often we fail to recognize the importance of being ready - being equipped to learn and grow and the very skills that can most equip us for life.

Why is preparedness so important? ›

Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters. Communities, families, and individuals should know what to do in the event of a fire and where to seek shelter during a powerful storm.

What are the 5 stages of readiness? ›

The Stages of Change model describes five stages of readiness (Figure 5) - precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance - and provides a framework for understanding behavior change (DiClemente and Prochaska, 1998).

What are the three factors of readiness? ›

​Readiness is more than being “ready or not.” Rather, readiness is determined by the three related components (i.e., motivation, general capacities, and innovation-specific capacities), which can vary in influence depending upon the setting.

What are readiness skills? ›

In addition to some academic basics, school readiness skills also include self care (independent toileting and opening lunch boxes), attention and concentration, physical skills (e.g. having the endurance to sit upright for an entire school day), emotional regulation, language skills and play and social skills.

What are the 4 factors that affects our readiness? ›

This article describes four major factors that influence learner readiness in short one-to-one interactions. The factors include information processing capacity, affective state, prior learning and experience, and the learner's "way of knowing" or philosophy of learning.

What are the stages of readiness? ›

  • Stage 1: Precontemplation. The client is not yet considering change or is unwilling or unable to change. ...
  • Stage 2: Contemplation. The client acknowledges concerns and is considering the possibility of change but is ambivalent and uncertain. ...
  • Stage 3: Preparation. ...
  • Stage 4: Action. ...
  • Stage 5: Maintenance.

How do you develop readiness? ›

5 Ways to Build Readiness for Change in Your Organization
  1. Step 1: Build a change foundation. ...
  2. Step 2: Enable those who confront the status quo. ...
  3. Step 3: Don't leave engagement up to chance. ...
  4. Step 4: Locate your inner transformational leadership style. ...
  5. Step 5: Test reality, ask questions, and show that you care.

What are some workplace readiness skills? ›

Skills such as communication, teamwork, integrity, problem-solving, work ethic and initiative, are essential for workplace success. These skills take time to develop and must be practiced and reinforced across various environments. Teachers partnering with families can help students develop these skills at home.

What is the quality or state of being prepared? ›

Meaning of preparedness in English. the state of being prepared for a particular situation: The army is in a state of preparedness for war.

How do you measure readiness? ›

How To Measure Workforce Readiness In Your Organization
  1. Analyse Communication Systems. Managers should analyze the communication systems of their organization. ...
  2. Identifying Projects For Readiness. ...
  3. Formal Learning Systems. ...
  4. Forge Partnerships Outside The Organization. ...
  5. Conduct Regular Interviews. ...
  6. Setting Skill Benchmarks.
Sep 13, 2019


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