There is something about moving through the atmosphere at 500 mph, in a closed capsule, with a 30,000 ft view that creates opportunities for meaningful growth which are too easily missed on Earth. I've personally experienced this many times while flying to meet clients and just as often while flying home to see my loved ones.
Rarely in my busy days do I get a chance to simply shut out the world, cut out interruptions from people or technology, and turn inside my own head to think. Similarly, I'm rarely able to change my perspective so easily as I do in flight, taking in just how big the world is, just how small I am, and just how critical the impact we can make on each other is.
As I’m flying over the River Thames watching it wind through London while cars maneuver through the streets, I'm struck by the thought that at this very moment, someone is burying a loved one, someone is embracing their new child for the first time, someone is closing their biggest deal ever, someone is getting laid off, someone is buying their first home, and someone is becoming homeless. Within my view from above, all of this is happening simultaneously and independently of each other, yet there exists a common thread of us all being fellow human beings. This perspective is hard to gain on the ground, but it really hits me during these reflections as I realize how important it is for each of us to Rule Our Impact during our critical moments throughout the day. Those seemingly independent, small moments are the ones that may have the most impact on those around us.
While I hate the thought of leaving home and fighting through security, delays, cancellations, and discomforts of travel, I also deeply appreciate that airplanes are my personal growth chamber. In planes, I can unload the burdens I’ve been under and learn from my most recent experiences through reflection. I can recover in a unique way with sleep, breathing, meditation, laughter, and learning that's sometimes hard to fit in on the ground. I can also reflect on what is important to me, where I can make my greatest impact, and how I can better connect with my loved ones.
During flights, I have written some of my most heartfelt, handwritten notes to friends and family, I have read some of the most impactful books and research articles, and I have experienced some of my most meaningful and emotional reflective moments. Yes, travel sucks at times, but it has also led to some of my best ideas and my most critical growth moments, both personally and professionally.
That being said, I am not endorsing we all travel more, and I'm actually trying my best to travel less. Still, what I do realize is that we all need someplace and some time where we can either literally or figuratively get into our own growth chamber to gain new perspective, explore what we feel, reflect on what we've learned, and ask how we can make a bigger impact on ourselves and on others.
And just like that, we're beginning our descent. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.