This summer I took Ally to see the new “Planes" movie by Disney. I find it fascinating how much these movies are geared at adults, and not just children. Dusty Cropper is an underdog plane who wants to win the most prestigious 'Wings Across the World' race . After numerous practice runs and races, he qualifies for mission because another plane is disqualified for cheating, Dusty's one problem is he's afraid of heights. ( I won't ruin the movie...go see it.) The point is his fear is what was keeping him from reaching his potential.
Seth Godin, a mentor of mine just wrote a book last fall that was released earlier this year, called The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? It’s a must read. Godin argues that we’ve built a world where it’s possible to fly higher than ever, and the tragedy is that we’ve been seduced into believing that we ought to fly ever lower instead. He’s right. We’ve all been taught to play things safe. Being “predictable” is what scores points. Being average is okay because we just need to pay the bills. Not rocking the boat means you just lay low in fear hoping you’ll never get called on or picked, or god forbid rejected.
What a waste!?
After a series of consulting gigs that resulted in layoffs due to a poor economy, the .com bust, Enron and 911, I suffered a massive career failure. I went to a private retail firm to get a “secure full time role”. And within a year was fired. Yep. Fired. (I’ll save that story for another post.)
What was happening? I was laying low....I was trying to take “safe” routes. I was trying to be someone I wasn’t and I was settling.
4 things I did to change my strategy.
- I thought about what I wanted to become. I took stock and understood what I had: energy, courage and the will to deliver. I also made a list of things I needed to develop: patience and focus.
- I stopped taking whatever was handed to me and began creating work that meant something. I said “no” to things and people and began saying YES to myself.
- I made better choices: mentors, bosses, friends, food, and fitness. I went to work for a company with a remarkable reputation for developing people and loved every day I got up because I was sure to learn something new.
- I took challenging assignments across the world, learning, loving and more importantly, I began to fly high!
And I’ve not stopped since.
I don’t play it safe anymore. Playing it safe gets you last place. Play it safe and you might as well crawl into a box and lay yourself to rest. We are living in a world where you can fly high, dream big and make those dreams happen. Don’t believe me? Buy Seth’s book and go see Planes. It may change your life!
How low are you flying and how high are you going to fly?
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