I have spent the past week in Las Vegas, Nevada, visiting my doctor daughter and dynamic son-in-law. We had a great time seeing shows and enjoying each other’s company. Along the way, I had a few more seizures which, although disappointing, is all part of the process of healing. The experience of coming and going on an airplane has given me the material for this week’s Provision. Ready to lift off? Read on!
The process of flying is quite an experience, with all the elements that go into taking such a journey and all the procedures that are involved to get everyone safely to their final destination. It struck me that we have a lot to learn from those procedures and elements if we hope to get anywhere in life. I noticed ten things that we might want to ponder and apply to our own journeys or treks of life.
1. Intention. All journeys start out, if they start out at all, with an intention. “Where do you want to go today?” is more than just a marketing tag line. It is the question we ask ourselves and get asked by others, either explicitly or implicitly, from the time we get up in the morning to the time we go to sleep at night. That’s how it was at the ticketing kiosk in the airport. What is your final destination? Where do you want to go? There’s no way to get from here to there unless we know where “there” happens to be. That’s one of the fascinating things about my brain injury: I often can’t remember what just happened or where I am supposed to be next. Thank goodness for the coordinated calendars I keep on my phone and computers! But I can’t wait for the day when I can keep more of that in my head. It makes life much less rich to lose touch with one’s intentions. If you haven’t set or reviewed yours in a while, I encourage you to do so.
2. Instructions. Air travel, as with all journeys, is full of instructions. Where we are to stand, when we are to step forward and go through security, when we are to board the plane, when we are to put on our seat belt and when we are free to move about the cabin, what we are allowed and not allowed to carry with us • the litany of instructions and requirements seemingly goes on forever. But that’s the deal whenever we want to lift off in any arena of life. There are always rules of the game. Indeed, that’s what makes it a game! And, in a certain sense, all of life is a game. One of the ways I have been strengthening my memory is to play games and follow the instructions. I don’t always get them right, and people are quick to not only call me on but also to help me with that. We never get better, however, if we never play, so I encourage you to play the game of life and follow the instructions to the best of your ability.
3. Security. One big set of instructions when it comes to flying through an airport these days are all the security procedures that one has to follow in order to get on and off the plane. In my case, because of my still-forgetful brain, I left my afternoon pills, a couple of empty plastic bags, and a few pieces of folded paper money in my front two pants pockets when I passed though security. The screeners didn’t miss a thing. When I got through the scanner they immediately asked if I had anything in those pockets. I felt through my pockets said, “Oh, sorry, just my pills.” and I pulled them out to show them. “There’s more,” they said. So I felt in the other pocket and pulled out the remaining items. Although I was a bit embarrassed to have forgotten to do this ahead of time, it was reassuring to know they could pick up such small items. So, too, in life and work: a little security goes a long way. If you want to lift off, make sure your bags are packed and that you attend to all the small details.
4. Risk. All the security in the world cannot eliminate the inherent risks in taking a journey. Quite apart from mechanical breakdowns or encountering someone with nefarious intentions, you might forget things, bring the wrong things, or otherwise experience a few bumps along the way. That’s the nature of life. There’s no way to eliminate risk and, in fact, we wouldn’t be living if there wasn’t any risk. We would, quite literally, be dead. So embrace risk as part of life and manage it in ways that feel appropriate, comfortable, and, might I add, even a little bit thrilling. That’s the dance we do from cradle to the grave. We take risks to learn, grow, and live life to the fullest. So go for it!
5. Trust. We put a lot of trust in airport procedures and personnel to get us safely to our destination. From the moment we step in the airport and get our ticket to the moment we leave the terminal on the other end, we are in the care of complete strangers for something that is truly a matter of life and death. That’s how it has been, often but not always, in the recovery process from my seizure disorder. Although my attentive wife and doctor daughter have been most actively involved, along with the rest of my family and friends, much of my care has been in the hands of people we did not know before we handed my life over to them. Wow! Talk about trust. It takes trust to take the risks that make life worth living.
6. Press. It’s impossible to take off in an airplane without feeling the press that comes with the accelerating engines. We are pressed back into our seats as the plane rises into the skies. That press comes with every lift off, whether into the skies or into any area of life. It’s not something to be afraid of; it’s something to be welcomed and embraced. Without press, we will never get anywhere. Sure, it’s possible to press too hard and perhaps that was part of my problem last summer as well as part of the lesson I am still having to learn. But no press at all is just as bad. So, once again, go for it!
7. Release. All work and no rest is a prescription for all manner of problems, whether seizures or otherwise. There is a work-rest rhythm that I have written about many times but that I have not always managed to practice successfully. It’s easy to get into the mode of, “Just one more thing.” “I’ll knock off after I finish just one more thing.” “I’ll come to bed after I finish just one more thing.” “I shut down the computer after I finish just one more thing.” “I’ll stop working on this project after I finish just one more thing.” Sound familiar? I’m learning to turn off that switch so, if some weeks in the future, you don’t happen to receive a Provision on the first day of the week, know that I switched from Press to Release. And that’s a good thing for my brain.
8. Cooperation. There’s quite a dance that goes on to get peoples’ bags checked, to get us through security, loaded onto and unloaded off a plane, and to get us out the door safely on the other end. For that to work well, it takes cooperation. Lift off always takes cooperation. No one gets anywhere in life without cooperation. Even the Lone Ranger had his trusty pal Tonto. We all have to cooperate with a host of others if we hope to make it successfully to our final destination. So make that your attitude in life. Don’t try to do it alone and don’t give others a hard time. Cooperate and life gets a whole lot easier.
9. Patience. Getting to our final destination doesn’t only take cooperation; it also takes patience. At the airport, there were long lines, flight delays, and other things that interfere with perfect performance. An old joke line in our family that I used to throw out, was, “The only thing that exceeds my greatness is my modesty.” No more. Having been knocked down hard, and still picking myself back up with a zigzag process of two steps forward and one step back, I have become much more patient with the challenges and setbacks of life. Life is never perfect and never will be perfect. Life is something that happens from the time we are born to the time we die and there are no guarantees as to when those times will be. Not even birth is guaranteed, let alone a long and easy life. So don’t expect it to be that way. Being patient with yourself and with others makes things a whole lot easier.
10. Courage. Because it has become so routine, it’s easy to forget how much courage it takes to lift off and fly through the air. It even takes courage for birds, which is why young birds have to learn how to fly and why flying birds have to watch out for windows and other hazardous objects. Turn the wrong way, as I have learned in dramatic fashion, and it may be curtain time. But that’s no less true for simply getting out of bed in the morning. It takes courage to venture out on another day and to give it one’s all. No wonder so many people hire coaches, such as LifeTrek Coaches, to take their game to another level. To step out, to step up, and to make it happen is neither an easy nor a solo affair. It really does take a village, as well as courage • so why not Contact Us Today to arrange for a free complementary session?
Coaching Inquiries: What things would help you to lift off and take your game to another level? Who can you count on to help and be there along the way? Where are you going anyway? What would make you happier and more successful in life? How might you find the Intention, Instructions, Security Risk, Trust, Press, Release, Cooperation, Patience, and Courage to make it so?
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Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.
Know that I am thinking of you and sending good thoughts your way. You are way too powerful to have this stop you from anything! I continue to enjoy reading your Provisions.
Your last Provision was a great story. Soooo glad you are back!
I received my first Provision today. Thanks! You have been making my life more meaningful and grateful all week! I really appreciate what you have to offer.
I read the blog post of your healing journey from yesterday, and am happy to learn that you guys are enjoying the time out west with your family. Enjoy your week together, and continued thoughts and prayers to you, Bob, as you continue to heal!
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
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