If you were to get a flat tire on your ride home from work today, what would you do?  Would you sit on the side of the road and wait for help, would you call a family member or AAA, or would you already be prepared and ready to solve the issue? The key factor is preparation.

When is the last time you checked the air in your spare tire or looked to make sure all of the pieces of the jack are there?  Do you know where to put the jack on the car?  If you have not prepared, you will have a difficult time handling this flat tire on your own.

The flat tire is a simple example of how lack of preparation can dramatically affect your life. Recently, a friend of mine was on a business trip. He was running late to a customer meeting and racing down the freeway in his rental car when the tire blew. Because he was running late, he didn’t even think to check the trunk of the rental car for a spare tire or jack. As a result, he found himself on the side of the freeway in a suit in mid-July with a flat tire. He assumed he would be able to change the tire, so he popped the trunk and began to locate the necessary tools, but the wrench for the lug nuts was nowhere to be found.

Not only did he miss his meeting, but he was soaked in sweat and lost an entire day due to a simple problem that could have been resolved easily with the right equipment. Now let’s be honest, nobody checks a rental car for the spare tire and jack—nobody! But maybe we should. This is an example of how our modern society has become so accepting of potential risk and does little to prepare for it. Remember when you (or your parents) would check the oil in the car? When is the last time you did that? While newer cars notify you when to change the oil, they don’t always warn you when you are running low on oil and potentially damaging your car’s engine.

Our lives are filled with constant activities, and we are always moving from one task, project, errand, practice, or event to the next. Oftentimes we put ourselves at risk of major issues that could be avoided with just five minutes of simple preparation. With that being said, I challenge everyone to slow down for five minutes per week to do something proactive in order to prevent a future disaster. These simple details may seem insignificant, but they could have major impacts on our plans.

The tire analogy is merely one of many examples of how we can minimize potential inconveniences in our lives. We might need to slow down and work on a personal or professional relationship. We might need to reevaluate our finances and check our budget before making a purchase. We might need to monitor our children more closely and advise them to make smart choices. The list really is endless, but we all have one area in our lives that requires more focus. Please take the time to evaluate your current situation and prepare for an emergency. It might change your life.