by Patrick Weill
Today’s article is about being prepared. It is about having reserves or savings. I am not only referring to reserves or savings in the most common sense i.e. money. I am writing about things in general, for example emotionally, professionally, or socially.
Tito Ortiz, a retired mixed martial artist, a former UFC champion, once said: “Be prepared for the worst, and the best will always happen to you.” There was another athlete, whose name escapes me, who had a terrible story and a resulting powerful idea. She was driving, and she and her boyfriend were involved in a serious automobile accident in which her boyfriend was killed. Left to raise her daughter alone, she thought, “Why me? Life is not supposed to be like this. These things are not supposed to happen. How can I deal with this?” In the pre-fight interview I watched about her, she said that she later came to realize that life is in fact supposed to be like that. That these things do happen. She found that the only way to deal with what had occurred was to accept that unexpected tragedy, difficulty, and pain are part of life. And this is true professionally and personally.
One of my pastors said that the measure of a person is not what s/he does when everything is going right, but it is what s/he does when everything is going wrong. He would also say, if you are not having problems, and you have never had problems, and you think life is a vacation, you just keep on living. You just wait. And this is true professionally and personally.
So the first question is, if we know that we are going to have problems, how can we be ready for them? In order to successfully take action we need to be prepared, with emotional, physical, social, and professional reserves. We must have physical savings such as money, exercise, and rest, along with investment in friends and family, the professional community, and professional training.
Different kinds of reserves
|Personal||Exercise, rest, good food and water = good health and relaxation. Promotes energy and ideas.||Friends to help you and talk with you. Helping others is like putting money in the bank|
|Professional||1. Monetary savings
2. Continuous Professional Development, CPD: be ready when something difficult arrives in the inbox.
3. Mastery of language and culture. Ready when something difficult arrives in the inbox.
|Serving nonpreferred clients. Working for a lower rate in order to help people who need it. Helping our colleagues who get sick or need some other kind of help. Some day we may have an emergency and we may have to ask for similar favors.|
It is important to point out that there are those who fall on the opposite of the spectrum. The use of resources spectrum, we could call it. This type of person is prone to limit him/herself and thus fail to reap the possible benefits of a less conservative approach. For example, we might imagine a person who overdoes/over-accumulates such physical savings as money, exercise, and rest, along with investment in friends and family, the professional community, and professional training; this person just needs to calm down.
The second question is, if we know we need (some kind of) savings, how can we make the right conservative decisions when our first instinct might be to use all of our resources at once? We all know what to do first, if only in the very back of our minds, but the key is how to get moving. Start small, baby steps.
We are not bad for limiting ourselves too much or for falling into excess. This is normal. How do I know that this is normal? Because everything that is bad has its origin in something good. Every extreme behavior we display can be boiled down to a good and natural instinct. For example: when we spend all our money instead of saving it, we are very generous with others. Or with ourselves. And generosity is good. A generous person wants to help someone.
When we are too conservative and do not take necessary risk, it stems from not wanting to risk what we have. We want to protect the things that are important to us. That is good.
When we do not exercise, what we want to do is to rest, to sleep, and to feel good. When we do not eat or drink well, we want to be happy now, not later. That is important.
When we do not do CPD, we do not want to do something difficult. We want work that is fun and as easy as possible. And that is good.
When we are aggressive, it comes from being assertive. We know how to defend ourselves and that is good.
When we do not help our colleagues we are focusing on our own business and our own matters, and that is good.
When we are not organized, that might mean that we have really great ideas and act on them quickly, jumping from one good thing to the next. We are inspired. Or busy. Also good.
When we focus too much on our very best clients instead of helping all our clients, that means that we are ambitious, and that is good.
When we do not master a second (or third) language and culture as completely as we really need for our jobs, that means that we do not want to do something hard or inconvenient. And that is good. We want to have fun and easy lives, which is important.
When we do not get enough rest, or when we do not take time for reflection, always producing but not taking time out to recharge, that means we are hard workers, an important value.
The key is not to take the good things too far. The lesson here, at least for me, was that we need to realize that we are not bad for having fallen into some kind of extreme, because in some way we were trying to do something good. We were trying to produce satisfaction in our lives. All we need to do is turn down the dial a couple of notches. We can do that. We just need to avoid professional or personal selfishness, and also the other extreme of serving others too much and not focusing our own professional or personal matters.
Like the UFC fighter said, this is life. It IS supposed to be like this. Like my pastor said, there will be problems. So where do we start? What should we do? We must produce and save the necessary resources to handle any situation. If, God forbid, an emergency occurs and we are not able to finish a project, we will need good colleagues who are willing to help quickly. If we get seriously ill, we need to have savings. If I get a translation that pays very well from a new dream client but it’s very technical and due in three days, I have to be ready for that. I have to train myself technically beforehand.
Having some kind of reserves implies not taking things to extremes, without forgetting that when or if we do fall into extremes, it is normal and natural. We just need to apply a good measure of control and discipline. Both professionally and personally.
Patrick Weill has been translating from Mexico since 2006. His undergraduate degree is a BA in experimental psychology and he has postgraduate degrees in music and education. His language pair is ES-EN and he was certified by ATA in 2016. Most of his translation and editing work involves scientific or clinical research.