About 16 years ago as a law student, I was simultaneously working two separate jobs – one as a steel fixer on a construction site and another as a church musician. I had done this for about a year and had grown accustomed to balancing work and school. I found the benefits of financial freedom outweighed the burden of being a working student and I enjoyed the process very much.
Then, in the space of one week, it all came crashing down and, suddenly, both jobs came to an end, and I found myself unemployed. The construction project was put on hold for about a year and the church changed its service times to when I was unavailable. What made it worse was that both jobs came to an end at the beginning of summer when I needed them the most.
After the initial shock of losing the two jobs, I spent about two months searching for another job. As a student, I recognized that my job prospects were limited, however, I wanted financial independence and was growing frustrated.
Then one Saturday, I declared that, despite the silence or the lack of opportunities, I was going to be ready for whatever came my way. That day, I told my mother that I believed something good was coming (even though I had no indication anything would happen at all) and I was going to prepare by ironing my work clothing. No opportunity that was to come my way was going to meet me unprepared. I also went to a Barber to ensure that I was well groomed.
Once the clothes were ironed and I had gotten my haircut, I went about my business not knowing what would happen. Then, no sooner than the following Wednesday, I received a call asking me to show up to the hospital the following Monday for a summer internship. When they asked if I’d be ready, I made the joke that I was ready even before they thought to call. The truth is, had they asked to come the next day, I would have been ready. I was ready for the opportunity before it even became available to me. And just like that, a mere week and two days away after I ironed my pants in preparation for an opportunity I didn’t know I’d get, I started an internship.
Now, there are many lessons that can come from this story. One lesson could be that we must operate in faith and that even a nugget of faith the size of a mustard seed (and some proactivity) can produce opportunities. I truly believe this. But the lesson that I want to stress in this story, is that one must always be ready and not just be ready, but stay ready.
While life may give you some indication or sign that something may happen, many times we go through life unaware of the opportunities until they present themselves. But if you truly desire these opportunities, then you must remain ready. There is much we cannot control in life; especially when it comes to the decisions, choices and actions that others make. But, we can control our own effort. We can control how prepared we are for opportunities and we can control our ability to remain ready for the same opportunities.
So, I encourage anybody reading this to stay ready. While you are waiting and it seems nothing is happening – stay ready. It may be hard to stay encouraged but stay ready. When others are winning and you’re still waiting on your victory – stay ready. While other’s names are being called and you’ve yet to hear your name called – stay ready. Be ambitious, be proactive, be kind; but never forget to be ready and to stay ready.