Prepare Today

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I’ve asked some friends to bring their insights to the Leadership Freak community. Please give a warm welcome to today’s guest writer, Wally Bock.


Bishop Hanns Lilje was imprisoned by Hitler but I didn’t know that at first. He was a genial man who laughed often, one of my father’s German pastor friends.

Then I read his book, the Valley of the Shadow. That book is no longer in print, but in a few pages it told about how Lilje was imprisoned by the Nazis, first at the Moabiter Prison and then at Tegel in Berlin. He wrote about the little things the prisoners did for each other and the little things guards and visitors did to help each other and encourage each other.

The next time Bishop Lilje visited us in New York, I peppered him with questions. I was young. I wanted to know how he became a hero.

After enduring my interrogation for a while, Bishop Lilje sighed heavily. He leaned forward, his hands turned inward on his thighs. “When they knock on your door,” he said, “it’s too late to prepare.”

Adversity comes to all of us. When it does, it’s too late to prepare.

Prepare today by looking inward so you know who you are. Learn what’s important to you, what rules you will live by in tough times.

Prepare today by developing relationships. When times are hard or you’re lost in a moral fog, you need people who care about you to make it through.

Develop relationships today by doing your part. Often in those prisons, Bishop Lilje said, prisoners in solitary cells, who could not see another prisoner, lifted each other’s spirits by singing hymns.

Do what you can, every day, to make yourself a better person, a better friend, and a better leader. When adversity comes, it’s too late to prepare.

What can leaders do today to prepare for future adversity?


Wally Bock blogs about leadership at The Three Star Leadership Blog and about the writing that builds business at his Zero Draft Blog.