Individual Preparedness Plan: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

by Todd Walker

Finally, part two of my IPP post from the other day.

One of the benefits of writing individual education plans for my students is, err, it’s individualized. Just like my students, preppers and survivalist all have unique strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Here are some suggestions to help with your IPP.

A.) Evaluate your strengths. Self-help gurus and a lot of prepper experts have a knack for making us feel inferior. Intentional or not, it happens. My advice is to find out where you’re strong. Weaknesses are easily identified when I write IEP’s. It’s the strengths I sometimes have trouble locating. We’re all strong in some areas. There are no superhero preppers. Only ‘experts’.

If you’re a list person, make a list of all that you do well. There’s bound to be something under the strong side of the ledger. Once you identify your strengths, develop them.

B.) Starve the weaknesses. This one stops so many people waking up to their need to prepare. After reading their first prepper blog, they freak out. A common thought for folks new to preparedness goes like this: “I have a can of tuna, some beans and corn, half a case of water. I’m old and out of shape. How in the name of survival can I carry that 50 pound BOB (Bug Out Bag) that the expert said I need? Where would I bug out to? I’m too broke to buy a retreat that’s self-sustaining.” Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Hands get thrown in the air.

What’s the solution? Personalize your plan. Make it simple. I know we need water to survive. How much depends on the individual, climate, and number of mouths (pets count). Take preparedness step by step. It’s a journey, a slow climb. If I focus on point ‘A’, then I begin to discover opportunities. This loosens the monkey’s grip on my back. When he falls, I see freedom. And feel free.

Do we really need all the ‘shiny’ stuff bloggers and books promote? Set your individual priorities. If you don’t govern your priorities, someone else will. Just say no to the good shiny stuff and focus on what’s really important. You. Your time. Your relationships. Your neighbor. Eliminate the non-essentials. Sculpt your individualized masterpiece. Chisel away at everything in your plan that isn’t your masterpiece. “Keep the main thing, the main thing,” is what a pastor friend of mine told me years ago. Don’t get distracted by all the shiny preps.

Identifying our weaknesses in areas is good. Realize though that we only have x amount of time, energy, and resources. We can only do a certain amount of stuff and skills very well. The rest is mediocre at best. There. I’m mediocre. Repeat that to yourself. Mediocre is enough. Do I really need to master the 47 Essential Skills Needed To Survive The Zombie Apocalypse? Admitting my mediocrity, I can now prioritize my preparedness plan and not feel the need to keep up with the big boys.

Prepare intentionally. Is a comfy sofa on your SHTF list of lists? Probably not. Yet, it was on our list. Dirt Road Girl needed a comfortable sofa to chill on during her chemo/radiation treatments. We bought the nicest we could afford. That was the best ‘prep’ money we’ve spent. With that price tag, we could have bought plenty of beans, bullets, and band aids. But I had to ask, “Would I rather have a huge impact on my family, or a small impact on the “what-if” system of preparedness?” The three B’s are still on our list, but not as important. Our individual priorities should guide our Individual Preparedness Plan.

DRG finished her radiation last week! We’ll get some scans done soon with great results hopefully. I’d like to take this chance to thank all those who have offered up prayers and support for her and our family! Blessings back on you!

C.) Interruptions are opportunities. Focusing on our weaknesses creates tunnel vision. My granddaddy made his mule wear blinders to hide distractions. Jack’s job was to pull the plow down one row at a time. It’s very easy to view preparedness planning as your job. Get that last case of #10 cans packed away and inventoried. I’ve been guilty of wearing prepping blinders in the past. They help limit the distractions and interruptions to my plan. The problem with wearing this gear is it also blinds me to new opportunities.

“We interrupt your regularly scheduled program” is usually followed with an emergency announcement like: Buckwheat has been shot! I’m often standing at my desk (I built a stand-up desk since I never sit down at school except to eat and meet) doing paperwork when a co-worker pokes her head in and interrupts my importance. She just needs to talk. I politely listen. In my mind I’m trying to end the conversation. I’ve got important stuff to do. I don’t have anyway of measuring this, but I’ve missed so many opportunities by not really listening to people in my life. DRG will tell you that I get focused on something and lose all peripheral vision. “Please DO NOT Disturb!” is hanging around my neck.

All the great inventors made life-changing discoveries by being interrupt-able. An observant person will look for and notice opportunities from interruptions.

Cancer barged into our IPP in January. The Earth kept spinning, but our world stopped. Now we deal with doctors and stress and an uncertain future. With our budget blindsided, we’re forced to prepare creatively. Our relationship with our neighbors has grown from a friendly wave to caring friends and meals when needed. Community is building. What use to be ‘important’ has taken a back seat. Interruptions open new opportunities – if I look for them. Plus, I look like my granddaddy’s ass with those blinders on.

D.) What threats are likely? I know there are many natural and man-made disasters that could happen. Economic collapse, solar flare, EMP attack, super volcanoes erupting, and martial law just to name a few. My job is to figure out which ones are most likely to affect me and mine. I quit trying to prep for the massive what-if list. The self-reliant crowd may disagree. When I win the lottery, I’ll consider buying that mountain with the pimped-out underground bunker. Until then, I prep for most-likely disruptions to our quality of life.

For example. I was fortunate to grow up in the middle of nowhere. Our nearest neighbor lived two miles up the dirt road. Every time a dog hiked his leg on a telephone pole our power shut off. Daddy’s welding machine pulled double duty providing electricity more than once. Redundancy anyone? We rarely got snow. So it made no logical sense to buy tire chains for our vehicles. Besides, we had a tractor which was employed in ’73 to haul our family (loaded in the back of a pick up truck) to town after a freakish storm dumped a foot of snow on our farm.

Risk assessment is necessary to increase your chances of survival. Back to my boyhood farm days. Our doors were never locked on our house. I don’t remember anyone even owning a key. Times have changed. A few years ago a petty thief drove down my parents dirt drive past his house and cleaned out my brother-in-laws shop – in broad daylight – with my dad at home. That’s not something that happens often where I grew up.


Today is different. With the economy spiraling, people are getting desperate. Home invasions are increasing. Home defense will differ depending on the threat level. If windows in your neighborhood are covered with bars, home defense would be a primary concern. If you can’t or don’t want to move, develop your plan to address the threats of living (intentionally or not) in a high risk area.

Next week we’ll get into the nuts and bolts of developing your IPP. Thoughts? I love to hear your feedback.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


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Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, IPP: Individual Preparedness Plan, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Individual Preparedness Plan: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

  1. Well said. I especially enjoyed your dog vs power pole section 🙂


  2. Reblogged this on Family Survival Protocol and commented:
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