In aviation, “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate” is our absolute go-to baseline rule. It’s born of the knowledge that if pilots fixate on solving a particular problem in an emergency, they can lose perspective on what’s really important – which is flying the airplane.
For that reason, this axiom is hammered into our brains during training so that we automatically default to repeating it whenever we’re presented with a high pressure scenario. “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate” teaches us to fly the airplane first, then navigate where we need to go, and once we’ve got those things under control, to communicate our intentions.
Today is the Monday before Christmas, and in my country, it’s a public holiday. When I ask myself what central thought I’d choose for this time of year, this is it. “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.”
The December holidays are renowned for the speed at which they pass. By the end of the year, we tend to crave them from a half-crazed mental state loaded with the stress of a year’s decisions and the impending responsibilities of the oncoming year. The December holidays also tend to load that already high stress level, whether we realise it or not. Travel, family visits, social occasions – and that’s just the good stuff. If there is trauma or loss during this season, it’s heightened and loaded on top of our already weakened tolerance levels.
Considering all this, ““Aviate, Navigate, Communicate” seems the perfect thought for today.
Whatever you are doing today, do it fully. The only thing that alleviates our often-manic brains is being truly present in what we’re doing. It allows time to slow down and for us to pause and make sense of what’s here, now. If you’re tired, stressed, thinking about how to handle what’s here, or projecting your thoughts towards what’s to come, stop.
Concentrate for a moment on what’s here right now. Just fly the airplane. Rather than trying to figure out where to go next, just fly the airplane.
Whatever you’re dealing with, be it the joy of family present or the loss of family gone – sit with that for a moment. Either way, appreciate it for the gift it is or the gift it was. Focus in this moment on what’s truly important – and most will agree that that’s people.
Rather than fixating on what you think needs to be done, sometimes to the detriment on the present moment, act on only what you need to get done for right now. “Do for today”, and then be fully present with the people you’re given, or the emotions you’re dealing with. If you don’t aviate – focus on what’s most important and right in front of you today – it will be January before you’ve blinked, and you’ll be building next year on top of the collective mental state of this year.
What’s in front of you today? Just do that.
by Christen Killick
December 23rd, 2019