One of the most well known, yet least practiced principles of success is the need to prepare. Regardless of the pursuit, if you want to succeed and feel the thrill that comes from winning (however you define ‘winning’), you need to prepare ahead of time. As the marathon runner Juma Ikanga said after winning the New York Marathon: “The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare.” You can want to win more than anyone else in the world; yet if you do not want to put in the work to prepare, it will not matter.
When you consider successful leaders whom you admire, and think about what they did to achieve greatness, it may seem like things come easily to them. Over time, no doubt things do come more easily. However, most if not all great leaders have learned this truth spoken eloquently by Vince Lombardi: “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” So the next time you are contemplating why things seem to come easy for others, just remember they most likely spent a lot of time somewhere along the way preparing for what they are accomplishing today.
The Product Management Perspective: Product managers face an interesting challenge: they are responsible for the success of their products, yet the people they rely on to get their products successfully out the door do not (usually) report to them. This situation lends itself to planning and preparation. Take the time upfront to prepare, and do the work necessary to make your products successful.