Last week I met a man named George – a 50 something year old government employee. George is large in stature and has a personality to match (not a typical government employee in my experience). He has a laugh and a smile that positively affects everyone. But there was something else about George, something more to him…it was his eyes. His eyes were soft, warm and wise. You could tell he was a genuinely sincere man. You could tell that his peers respected him.

During our team development session around building resiliency within a team, I was speaking about how when change occurs people sometimes have a difficult time seeing the future opportunity because instead of looking ahead they focus only on the “perceived” danger that is right in front of them. My message was, “you must look past the danger to the opportunity if you want to successfully move forward”. Some of the team members were having a hard time embracing this concept, and as one participant put it “nice theory, but it is not practical to real life”.

As I started to formulate my response, enter my new friend George. George thoughtfully shared a personal story that illustrated the practicality of this concept.  Here is the story.

George has a friend who is an airline pilot and during one particular flight, George was invited to sit in the cockpit with his friend. The co-pilot who was at the helm, was a pilot in training.

George and his friend sat comfortably chatting, as the trainee had everything under control. George was having such a good time he was not paying attention to the weather and did not realize they were in a rainstorm.

The plane was lining up for it’s landing when the windshield wipers malfunctioned, and stopped dead in the middle of the windshield. The plane was fast approaching the runway and the trainee began to get anxious.

WiperHere is the conversation between the trainee and the pilot:

Trainee (with a slightly panicked voice): “The wipers malfunctioned! I can’t see anything!”

The Pilot (In a calming voice):  “Just look past the blades and everything will be fine.”

The plane successfully landed…malfunction blades and all.

The moral of the story – when we are trying to BE IT!, life will throw all kinds of curve balls our way that can knock us off course. If we only focus on the obstacles in front us we will lose site of our IT, however, if we focus our sites on our IT we will overcome the obstacles.

What is the “blade” in your life that is blocking your vision to see and BE IT? Are you ready to look past the danger and focus on the opportunity of your IT?

PS: Thanks George!

Illustration by Sam Hubbard