What “Being Prepared” Means

by Donna Faylona-Marcelo

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the word “prepared” was often associated with being ready for natural disasters. Many people put together “grab kits” for their homes and offices, and schools even required students to have them ready at their desks. These days, being prepared means having enough face masks, face shields, disinfectants, alcohol and vitamin C with zinc. The “more prepared” among us also stock up on basic items like canned goods, instant noodles, and even toilet paper!

Years ago, before giving birth to my first child, I wanted to make sure I was ready for motherhood. I read dozens of books on pregnancy, subscribed to online parenting websites, attended childbirth classes, bought everything on the list of “must have” baby things. I was so ready for this baby.

The first night at home with my daughter was a nightmare. She would not go to sleep. She was fussy and would not stop crying. I tried everything — feeding, swaddling, changing diapers, rocking, dancing, singing, and praying. Nothing worked. We ended up wailing…together!

So how does one prepare well?

Information is key. Research ahead of time and get as much information from as many legitimate sources as possible. This holds true when preparing for situations at work — whether for a crisis situation or a presentation. The more information you have, the more clarity it will bring when dealing with the matter at hand.

While none of the things I did for my daughter seemed to be working, the information I had gathered from my research told me that what I was experiencing was not a medical emergency. So, I did not rush her back to the hospital, even if I wanted to.

Plan ahead. Explore all possible scenarios and plot a course of action for each. In an emergency, having the plans in place can spell the difference between life and death. At work, this means efficiency and can even save valuable company resources.

In my case, when I felt that I had tried all possible scenarios, I went to Plan Z: “Call mom!”

Get the right tools or equipment. Based on the information you have gathered and the plans you have made, have the proper items readily on hand. These items are your emergency kit, food stash, extra USB with your presentation, print outs of reference files, etc.

Be flexible. You need to remember that not everything will go exactly according to plan. There will always be variables, especially when it comes to nature, as well as human nature. You must be ready to adjust and adapt.  

So, can anyone be fully prepared for emergencies or unexpected situations? Not really — otherwise nothing would be unexpected, would it? However, if you have prepared well for these situations, you are more than halfway ahead in dealing with them. Someone once said that preparing wisely for future unknowns can spell the difference between surviving and thriving

My daughter is now 15 years old, and she has surprisingly survived me so far, and seems to be thriving. When my second child was born, there was much less drama on his first night at home. I’d like to believe I prepared better for him — more information, better plans, the right tools, and I was more flexible. I made it to plan H: “Pass on to husband after feeding!


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