Last week I got to celebrate my 45th birthday by flying with my good friend Ty in his Extra 300 high performance aircraft. I had a blast. We tore up the sky and performed a ton of aerobatics – Cuban 8’s, loops, aileron rolls, and high-G turns. It was awesome. (See video clip below.)
It totally brought me back to my days as an F-16 pilot. I actually forgot how much I enjoyed flying. But I also realized I forgot how to have fun. In the last ten years, I can count on one hand the number of times when I’ve been that exhilarated, inspired, and present. I was home again in the cockpit and it felt great.
What I learned that day is that I’ve been too caught up in my work – the deadlines, speeches, customers, and commitments. My radar has been way too focused on my targets on the job. As a result, I’ve been missing other important targets in my personal life – the things that make me joyful, engaged, and most of all, present.
I’m not saying I was wrong for being so focused on work. But I was definitely starting to burn out and realized I had lost a balanced crosscheck of what was important in life. I was denying myself the opportunity to have fun!
Perhaps you can relate.
– When was the last time you were fully engaged while doing something outside of work?
– What can you do that will inspire you and make you feel present?
– What brings you joy?
Spending time (either alone or with wingmen you care about) – be it in a cockpit, on a golf course, at a concert, a hike in the mountains, or on vacation, can fill up our spiritual fuel tank and re-energize us for the tough work ahead. It can lead to greater adaptability to stress, improve creativity, and strengthen relationships.
So my wingtip for you is make sure you park your jet in the hangar and get some much-needed maintenance. Don’t wait too long to tighten down your rivets and refuel your jet. Schedule time to relax and have fun. Otherwise, you may crash and burn.
When you do things that bring joy and peace to your heart, you’ll be better equipped to fly the tough missions when called to battle.
Never Fly Solo,