Anyone can hold the helm while the sea is calm. – Publilius Cyrus
Responsibility is a poker game, the more you have the higher the stakes. Life is unpredictable. If you’re a high-roller and you’re at the table, things will happen that you don’t expect.
Off the tracks
In the roller coaster ride of responsibility you have ups and downs and it’s fun, but sometimes the train comes off the track. This is the time I want to talk about. When the train comes off the track, when you’re caught holding the mic and something has to be said or done. You’re in a room of chaos and you’re the one with the “responsibility” to get the car back on the tracks.
What it looks like when it comes apart
In my job as a pilot, many days pass smoothly. The weather is nice, the airplane is perfect or close enough, the crew is great, the customers are happy and life is good. But, on the occasion when the perennially lurking “Murphy” rears his head things can snowball quickly. The airplane needs maintenance in the middle of boarding, the customers are behind their schedule and on edge, the drunk passenger in 5A will need me to walk back and ask him to leave in a moment, the weather at the destination is storming and fuel is tight due to landing weight restrictions. The computer goes out and I spill my coffee, the last happy thought I had for the flight, into my lap.
Life will blindside you. But, guess which story I will be telling in 6 months? 6 years? Yep, this one. The one where the car came off the tracks and the crew and I got to create. We got to problem solve in real time, we worked together to make solutions, put one fire out and moved on to the next one. It’s one thing I love about what I do. It’s these times when all is lost that we have the most to learn, the most opportunity to take care of those around us, the ability to define yourself.
Whatever you’re working on, remember that those around you are watching your reactions to the snowball. Do you get angry, yell at your team members, try to fix the problem by adding to it?
Are you the type of person that realizes these moments are the ones that define you, show the real you? Do you cowboy up and hold it together? Reel in your people, problem solve together, and move forward under fire.
Life’s not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. – George Bernard Shaw