Stop To Prepare (or why sometimes reading road signs backwards can be of benefit) This week’s #CoffeewithColm

I had to stop.

Not because the road sign told me too, but because I couldn’t believe the synchronicity of the Universe (or maybe I COULD believe it!)

Regardless, I had to stop, stick on my hazards and take a picture, the one at the top of the piece.


Now, I’m not naive enough to realize that’s not how I’m supposed to interpret those words painted on the road in front of me, despite being taught here in the western world to read, left to right, top to bottom. No, the correct interpretation is of course “PREPARE TO STOP”  as it is written in such a way that as we drive towards it, the word PREPARE is the first one we see and so it is forewarning traffic of some unusual situation, in this case a rather hidden junction, ahead.

But, since I was still on a high from the event which took place last weekend at The Lakeside Hotel in Ballina/Killaloe, “Think and ACT 2019”, at which I was blessed to facilitate forty souls (myself included) figure out where we are in life, and where we are headed and the next steps we need to take on our respective journeys, I could not ignore the very clear message presented by the almighty Universe.

To find out where my thoughts took me, watch the five-minute video, listen to the five-minute podcast, or read on below…


So, last week at the event Think and ACT 2019 we did exactly that.

We stopped.

First and foremost we STOPPED.

We caught our individual and collective breath and took a day out to allow our souls time to try catch up with our bodies. Were we successful? Yes, I think so. In the main I think everyone’s soul at least came into view, even if for some, perhaps it was a fleeting glimpse, But for many in this switched on, connected 24/7/365 FOMO world a fleeting glimpse should be considered progress indeed.

Once we stopped and began to deep, we began to learn ‘things we never knew we never knew’ about others in the room clearly, but what was surprising for many was the fact we learned ‘things we never knew we never knew’ about ourselves.

“How could that be?”, I hear you ask.

Well we did some exercises. We mentally shifted everyone in the room (ages [levels] from 16 to 72) out to their 80th birthday (a Stephen Covey exercise) and had them look back to figure out what will have been truly important. In that very exercise people realized ‘things we never knew we never knew’ about what is the important stuff in their lives.

We then conducted an audit, a back of a stamp audit, but an audit nonetheless on the four pillars of a fully-orbed life,

  • Health
  • Wealth
  • Relationships
  • Spirit

and had people score themselves where they thought they were last Saturday, then ask what scores they would like in each of those areas on their 80th (and next big birthday – one ending in 5 or 0).

And then we PREPARED.

When we had figure out where we were and where  are headed, we looked at the differential – which showed each individual what areas are most out of kilter and at least gave us something to consider and work on.

And a few days later I’m confronted with that road sign and I ask, “Coincidence? I think not.” STOP TO PREPARE.

We live life unnaturally as a species. Look at nature. Animals have it sussed. And plants? Dingers! Animals rest according to natural rhythms, plants simply be. The large tree (featuring in my video above) near my home, harbors about a dozen ravens’ nests and it is truly magical to see how they operate. As soon as it gets dark, whether 4:30pm in winter, or 10:30pm mid summer, they shut up for the night and only stir when dawn breaks. Many plants die off in winter only to return refreshed and beautiful again in spring. What do we do, us self-proclaimed ‘masters of the universe’? We burn the candle at both ends – and some of us in the middle too, thinking we are so clever.


Gets me thinking.

So, in this next week, please consider the unintentional wisdom in the backwards road sign, “STOP TO PREPARE”, apply it into your thinking and your actions and come back next week and we’ll share another coffee together, and I’ll ruminate on some other aspect of life and business.

Bye for now.


Thanks for thinking with me.

Yours truly.


Watch | Listen | Read | Think.

Did you enjoy that? Fancy a sip of some of my recent “Coffee with Colm” Blog posts:

  • Are you carrying too much baggage for the journey?, click here.
  • The fascinating history of “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON”, click here.
  • Apparently most deathbed regrets are around things left undone, risks not taken (or why we need to be braver), click here.

HIRE ME TO SPEAK. Consider me speaking at your event, launch, awards, or as your after-dinner keynote. Find out more here.

WORK WITH ME OR THE COBM | SOUNDING BOARD TEAM. Need help with your business? Check out the areas I and The Sounding Board of trusted experts can assist with. Find out more here.

FREE AUDIO BOOK. If would like a complimentary copy of my book “Feeding Johnny – How to Build a Business Despite the Roadblocks” in audio, narrated by yours truly so you get all the nuances, feel free to grab one here.

DEEP DIVE. If you would like to go deeper in your own personal journey, you can review the first step in my “12 Steps to Create the Life You Really Want” for FREE. Check it out here.

LINKEDIN. Perhaps the thing to do right now is simply to hook up professionally on LinkedIn – if that’s of interest, click here.

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