We all love weeks when things are going smoothly and there are no issues that need resolving. In fact, we often long for the days or weeks when we can focus on our work with few interruptions. However, we should not fall prey to thinking that those days are for coasting or just taking our time to get things done. The times of calm and stability are most valuable when we use them to plan and prepare for the future challenges we will face.

We can be sure of one thing, challenges will happen. Life tends to throw us a curve when we least expect it. I often refer to these as popcorn days–you anticipate a quiet day only to have your phone ring and suddenly you’re going in a different direction.  We may not be able to predict what the issues will be, or when they will happen, but we need to prepare ourselves, our teams, and our organizations for those times.

What will you do with those extra moments you gain during the calm? Successful leaders will equip themselves and learn how to navigate challenges up ahead. They are disciplined to apply their best efforts whether things are calm or in the midst of crisis. This includes a willingness to evaluate ourselves and how we can improve, our teams to identify opportunities for refinement and growth, and organizations to understand where the risks may lie and how to advance the organization within the upcoming window of opportunity.

Every challenge carries the possibility of growth if we choose to seek it. However, it is difficult to identify opportunities if we have not prepared and planned. We will spend so much time reacting to the challenge that we will be incapable of pivoting to offer new services or products. Preparing for challenges is a gift to your team and organization that will allow them to not just survive, but to thrive.