Many of us have faced many challenges over the past several years. Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one. Maybe your business failed. Or you did poorly on a work assignment. Whatever the case, how you approach your obstacles – alone or with the help of others – can have a big impact on the final outcome.
Once upon a time I received an email with a story about a U.S. Navy jet pilot, Charles Plumb. Maybe you’ve heard this story before. Regardless, it bears repeating.
Captain Plumb was shot down after 75 combat missions and spent six years in a Vietnamese prison. He had to overcome numerous obstacles but he survived his ordeal.
One day Plumb ran into a man who recognized him saying he was the sailor who had packed Plumb’s parachute that fateful day. The man told Plumb that he was delighted to know that the parachute he had packed had worked and was glad it had saved him when he had been shot down.
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night thinking about this man, wondering how many times he may have seen him and ignored him. Never bothering to say hello simply because he was a fighter pilot and this man just a sailor. This sailor had spent many hours below deck, carefully and laboriously packing parachutes, holding the lives of many men – including Plumb’s life – in his hands.
Here’s what I learned from this story.
Pack Your Own Parachute First
Each day we need to spend time packing our own parachute so that we are prepared when unseen obstacles come our way. This is no different than what we hear on an airplane about putting on our own oxygen mask first.
We need to take time to nurture our bodies and souls to ensure that we are always in peak working condition both physically and mentally. We need to take time to nurture others that are facing their own obstacles, however large or small, as we move along our own journey. And, we need to take time to nurture and build relationships with those people we trust to provide the support we need along the way.
Help Pack Someone Else’s Parachute
If your parachute is already packed, take a look around you. Do you see someone that could use a hand packing theirs? Reach out and lend a hand. I’m not sure why but sometimes the most competent people I know have the hardest time asking for help, myself included. Sometimes they are just so busy they don’t think to ask but other times I think there is a fear of appearing vulnerable or incapable of doing something. While you don’t want to be a pest, don’t take no as an answer. Most of us are programmed to say no first so be sure to ask again.
I believe in a philosophy of abundance. What you put out to the world will come back to you in multiples. This may very well be the person who helps pack your parachute on the next go around.
Remember, No One Flies Alone
Many of us make the mistake thinking that we are flying solo when it comes to getting things done. The reality is that none of us actually flies alone. That’s why it’s critical to acknowledge and recognize those people around you by taking time to say hello, how are you, please, thank you, have a nice day, congratulations, sorry, feel better, and whatever other words or actions that a person may need from you to get through the day. Sounds a bit like good manners, doesn’t it? I guess Mom was onto something!
Next time things get tough and you are facing challenges you feel you can’t overcome, take out your parachute, pull the cord and watch your parachute unfold. If you’ve done your part, you won’t have to ask, “Who packed my parachute?”
Speaker. Coach. Consultant.
“Dream Big. Take Action. Make It Happen.”
- Posted by Regina
- On May 1, 2022
- 0 Comments