Our current global circumstances make it very difficult to predict what the year ahead may be like in any way. We don’t know what business trends will look like. We don’t know whether children will stay in school or school online. We don’t know what travel will look like, or when we’ll share time with far-flung family again.
Lack of perceived control over many aspects of our lives causes most people to seek control in other ways – many of which can be distracting at best and destructive at worst. Anxiety can arise as our brains continually run all the possibilities, searching for the certainty that doesn’t currently exist. If nothing else, not being able to see a short term future we’re inspired to move towards can be energy-draining in the extreme.
Now is a fabulous time to remember that one thing we DO have a choice over this year is our attitude and the management of our energy. Every new day is a chance to make positive choices in this regard.
In the cockpit, we play with the words “Attitude determines Altitude”. In literal terms, the attitude of the aircraft (the position of the nose of the aircraft relative to the horizon) determines whether we climb or descend, thereby determining how much altitude we gain or lose.
In figurative terms, we know that our general success in life has much, if not everything, to do with our personal attitude and how we address life. That’s a choice.
In life, as in aviation, those who’ve retained the most amount of positive energy and made the most productive use of it by the end of the day will have won. There are three parts to ensuring proper management of our energy:
Energy is renewable, or more accurately, it’s transferable. Energy moves from one form to another, constantly transferring itself around. We boil water by transferring heat energy from the kettle element to the water, changing the energy and state of that water. Once we pour that boiling water into another container, the heat energy transfers out of that water to the new container and the air around, cooling the water as it dissipates.
In the same way, we need to take charge of gathering our own energy. Each of us is personally responsible for making sure we gather the right energy and enough of it for us to transfer it into the actions we wish to take. Gathering energy means taking responsibility for making sure every part of us (mind, body, spirit…attitude) are charged up regularly with the right kind of stuff because, for us to move forward, we must have a reserve of energy with which to do so. It must be the right kind of energy too, and that’s where the main weight of responsibility lies. Be careful what you gather.
For all of us, even the most expert energy gatherers, guarding the energy you’ve gathered is possibly the MOST important element in the chain of success. It’s human nature to take more notice of the negatives than the positives. It’s pure survival instinct to do so as our brains are programmed to ask whether we need protecting every minute of the day.
If all we focus on are the negatives, then our energy will drain quickly as we allow ourselves to live in a perpetual state of threat. If we give our energy away to the many things we disagree with or are disturbed by, wallowing in a state of worry about things we can’t control, our energy is going to leak and dissipate very quickly and we won’t have anything left to climb 2022 with.
We need constant reminding that how we manage our energy is our CHOICE. It’s one of the few things we DO have a choice over every day. We can refuse to keep voluntarily hooking our energy up to negatives that sap us and make better choices about our thought process. We can choose more carefully who and what we gift our precious energy to and we can plug the holes where it leaks or gets sucked out of.
Choosing is a far more powerful position to act from than concluding we have no control.
Without purposeful choice, we give large amounts of our energy to things we have no control over – like the economy, world politics, and other people. Take back control of your energy, and guard it. You need it for everything you want to accomplish and support this year.
Once we’ve gathered and guarded our energy, the next decision is what to do with it so that it is useful and doesn’t just dissipate. Directing our energy requires that we take active and intentional responsibility for it.
Once we’ve become practised at gathering and guarding our energy, the next step is to ensure we’re discerning and determined about where we direct that energy when we do release or transfer it. If we’ve done all the work to gather great energy and to guard it from leakage, then we want to make sure that it lands where it can do the most work and the most good.
If we allow ourselves to be side-tracked, or worse harnessed, by the negatives then our energy will land in places where it adds to the negative build-up of others. When we feel ourselves gathering negative energy, we need to be very careful about directing that energy down a channel where it can be responsibly released – going for a walk, taking a nap, working out.
Our mission is to gather the right kind of energy that feeds, inspires and strengthens our minds, bodies, spirits (and attitudes); and then direct that energy towards people and projects that require the transfer of that positive energy. It’s that simple.
Aviation, like every other sphere, is filled with fallible human beings. We feel the build-up and release of less desirable energy the same as everybody else. We all have days where it feels like you’re being dragged down by the goings-on around you and the things you can’t control. However, we know that our lives and those of the people we fly are on the line if we choose to carry that energy with us into our cockpits or share that energy with the crew we need to work capably with. We need clear, focused and positive mind space to accomplish safe flights. No one can choose that but us.
This year, make it your personal responsibility to practise gathering, guarding and directing your energy in ways that work well for you and allow you to gain altitude. Notice your attitude and correct it when necessary. At the beginning of every new day, make conscious choices about charging your energy, and at the end of every day review how you managed to guard and direct it. Make it a family or team challenge and a family or team conversation. Get it out in the open and make it an ever-present and ever-reviewed challenge for 2022. You have a responsibility to yourself first to do so. You have a responsibility to your family and your team to check in with and support each other. When we compare notes, we’re more able to laugh at ourselves – and a little humour goes a long way!
Your attitude will determine your altitude – every time.
by Christen Killick
January 17th, 2022