A reserve is much more than simply stockpiling materials. We are programmed for survival and until we get our basic physical and psychological needs met, we are focused on that lack. By being prepared through building a reserve, you and I free ourselves to focus on fulfilling our purpose.
Keep A Reserve
Thomas Leonard, on how to be prepared: “Keep a reserve”
I first became acquainted with the idea of having reserves, stores of materials, money, energy, time – in fact, anything that one needs to be able to focus on the higher needs of self-actualization – through the work of Thomas Leonard.
Thomas Leonard is widely recognized as the originator of life coaching. Leonard was an interesting combination of a chronic worrier plus someone who took great calculated risks. One of the coaching tools Leonard used to raise confidence and lower anxiety, so his clients could take the risks required to achieve their BIG goals, was the idea of Super Reserves.
When you don’t have enough (of any resource), you must deal with the fear of scarcity and that keeps you from focusing on reaching your potential. With a Super Reserve, Leonard said, you have more than enough to free your mind from fear and “to focus on more creative and productive pursuits than mere survival.” [CoachU]
So the first step to be prepared is to have enough, and more than enough, to feel your basic needs are met. Only then can you move up the hierarchy toward self-actualization and your Excelerated Life™!
Why It’s Important to Be Prepared
Let’s first look at the issues you face when you are unprepared. When you feel you are lacking in a necessary resource, be it time, money, love, energy, or toilet paper (remember the start of the COVID pandemic?), you cannot focus all of your attention and energy on your goals and projects. Being unprepared brings feelings of anxiety and overwhelm which saps your energy and your motivation. [“The Power of Preparation.”]
When you are fully prepared, when your energy and focus are no longer fixated on what you don’t have that you may need, your motivation increases and you have a sense of control. [“The Power of Preparation.”]
When you have a Super Reserve, more than enough to meet your needs, you’ll experience these benefits.
You’ll feel a reduction in stress and anxiety. When you are prepared for the unexpected, or the expected for that matter, you feel more in control of your life. Knowing that you have a plan in place for potential challenges can reduce stress and anxiety about the unknown.
You’re better equipped to deal with emergencies. Being prepared can mean the difference between staying safe and getting through a crisis with minimal harm or meeting with disaster.
You more easily adapt to change. Life events, whether expected or unexpected, often bring changes. By having a Super Reserve, you adapt more easily to new circumstances, making transitions smoother.
Preparation can help minimize the negative impact of certain events. Whether it’s financial planning or having essential supplies ready, being prepared can mitigate the consequences of unexpected situations.
You may actually save time and other resources. Having plans in place saves you time and resources when a situation arises. You won’t have to start from scratch; instead, you can follow your prepared guidelines.
You’ll have more confidence and resilience. When you know you are prepared for whatever comes your way, you’re more likely to tackle challenges head-on, because you know you’ve done your best to be ready.
You are able to take advantage of opportunities, which is probably the number one reason Leonard gives for building a Super Reserve. Sometimes life events present opportunities for growth or advancement. Being prepared allows you to seize these opportunities without hesitation.
Preparedness is an essential aspect of achieving long-term success. It enables you to set goals, create plans, and stay on track toward achieving them. While it’s impossible to predict every situation we’ll face or every outcome, being prepared and having a reserve of resources allows you to respond to situations with more resilience and adaptability. It empowers you to face the uncertainties of life with confidence. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for how to be prepared for various situations.
How to Be Prepared for Emergencies
When you are prepared for an emergency, you are better able to stay calm and make sound decisions. This helps you and your loved ones to stay safe and get through the emergency as quickly as possible. Here are some things to have in reserve:
- An emergency plan: Include information on how you will communicate with family and friends, where you will go if you need to evacuate, and what supplies you will need.
- An emergency kit: Include water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, a flashlight, batteries, a radio, and medications.
- Emergency alerts: Sign up for emergency alerts. This allows you to receive notifications about potential emergencies in your area.
- A communication plan: Establish a way to contact family and friends during emergencies. Consider setting up an emergency contact list and choose a meeting point if you need to evacuate.
How to Be Prepared for Daily Needs
This was the first thing I focused on years ago when I began building a reserve. In addition to having a reserve of household supplies, here are some other places to build a reserve to meet your daily needs.
- Maintain supplies: Keep essential items stocked, such as toiletries and cleaning supplies so you’re prepared for everyday needs. Keep a supply of non-perishable food and water on hand, in case you are unable to get to the grocery store for a few days.
- Have a first aid kit: Keep a first aid kit in your home and car. This enables you to treat minor injuries until you can get professional medical care.
- Have a plan:
- Have a plan for getting to work or school. This helps you avoid being stranded if there is a transportation disruption.
- Have a plan for staying warm or cool in extreme weather. This might include having a generator, a space heater, or fans on hand.
- Have a plan for weekly meals. Plan your meals for the week, create a shopping list, and consider meal prepping to save time and effort during the week. It can also save you money.
How to Be Prepared for Financial Needs
Speaking of money, a financial emergency would hit most of us pretty hard. Keeping a financial reserve is a major part of having an Excelerated Reserve™.
- Create a budget: This is the first step in creating a financial reserve. By managing your finances well, you can be prepared for unexpected expenses and save for future needs.
- Build an emergency fund: Set aside money in a separate account to cover at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses.
- Save 10% of your income: If this seems impossible right now, begin with 1%, or even 0.5%. The initial amount isn’t as important as the fact that you begin to see yourself as a saver.
- Invest in insurance: Consider health, life, home, and auto insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones financially.
- Plan ahead: For significant life events like weddings, moving, or major purchases, make a checklist and start preparations early to reduce stress and ensure everything goes smoothly.
- Seek guidance: If you’re facing a life event like buying a house, starting a family, or retirement, consult with professionals like financial advisors or experts in the relevant fields.
(Please NOTE: I am not a financial advisor or a licensed counselor. If you are seeking specific financial advice, I urge you to seek the assistance of a qualified professional.)
How to Be Prepared for Health and Wellness
Good health, even more than wealth, is fundamental to living a good life. Here are some ways to build a reserve for healthier living.
- Stay active: Incorporate regular exercise into your routine to maintain physical and mental well-being. Find an activity that you enjoy and that makes you feel good when you do it. You’ll be much more likely to keep it up than if you do it “to be healthy”.
- Practice self-care: Allocate time for relaxation, hobbies, and activities that bring you joy and reduce stress.
- Get regular check-ups: Schedule routine medical check-ups to monitor your health and address any potential issues early on.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep is the foundation upon which most other healthy habits are built. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you aren’t getting that amount most nights, perhaps try one of these suggestions.
How to Be Prepared for Other Life Events
Part of being prepared is to expect the unexpected. Here are some general tips to help you prepare for other life events.
- Build a network of support. This includes family, friends, neighbors, and community organizations. Having a network of people you can rely on can be invaluable in a time of crisis.
- Practice your emergency plan. This helps you verify that your plan is working and that you know what to do in the event of an emergency. Plus, you can make changes to improve your plan as needed.
- Be flexible and adaptable. Things don’t always go according to plan, so it’s important to be able to adjust your plans when necessary.
Being prepared for the unexpected can give you peace of mind and help you cope with whatever challenges life may bring.
Be Prepared by Having Reserves
Can you and I be prepared for every contingency? I don’t know if that’s possible because it’s difficult to forecast everything. I do know that keeping a sufficient reserve allows us to be in control of our response.
A reserve is much more than simply stockpiling materials. It is “the responsible, wise thing to do if you want to make the most of what you have” and who you are. [CoachU] We are programmed for survival and until we get our basic physical and psychological needs met, we are focused on that lack. By being prepared through building a reserve, you and I free ourselves to focus on fulfilling our purpose. And that is one step in embracing your Excelerated Life™!
In what area of your life do you most sense a “lack”, a feeling of not having enough?
What is the first step you can take to begin building a reserve in that area?
Share your ideas by leaving a post below.
Excelerated Reserves™ — moving from scarcity to abundance — is one practice for creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.
Coach U, Inc. Coach U’s Essential Coaching Tools. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005.
“The Power of Preparation.” Kaizen Workforce Solutions. Kaizen Workforce Solutions, May 3, 2022. Web. August 31, 2023.
This blog post includes suggestions provided by ChatGPT, an AI language model developed by OpenAI. The content was generated with AI assistance and is intended to provide information and guidance. Please note that the suggestions are not official statements from OpenAI. To learn more about ChatGPT and its capabilities, you can visit the OpenAI website.
This blog post includes suggestions provided by Bard, an AI writing tool from Google AI. Bard helped me to generate examples of being prepared.