Do You Know How to Fly?

Cathy Laffan returns to the blog today with a post for her monthly series.

When I ask if you know how to fly, I’m not asking what airline you prefer or if you fly first class or coach. Although air travel is a great metaphor for my real question; do you know how to fly in your life?

An important part of my practice of The Responsibility Process is to spend some time each day acknowledging my wins and being grateful for people who help me achieve my intentions. A win is simply an intention I set for myself and then met. Wins come in all shapes and sizes. Some people get hung up measuring their wins saying that some are ‘big wins’ because they took a long time to achieve or because they seem large in scale compared to others. With wins the adage “size doesn’t matter” is actually true. Any intention met is a win and is meant to be celebrated equally. Being grateful can be done openly by thanking people but I’m really speaking of taking time each day to think about or journal about those people and events for which I am grateful.

What does this practice of wins and gratitude have to do with flying? Think about an airline. Generally people who fly coach feel a bit like cattle being loaded on a truck; one is much like the next. Nothing really special happens in coach; everyone eats the same thing, has the same seat, and is treated in the same generic manner by the flight attendants. There’s not much winning or gratitude happening. Now consider people who fly first class, especially the kind of first class you get on international flights. Each person is made to feel like royalty. There’s often a special menu, free flowing wine, actual glasses/dishes, there’s more space, superior food, and so on. The special treatment feels wonderful and people are more likely to feel gratitude for the experience.

Are you flying coach or first class in your day to day life?

If you feel like every day is much like the last, you may feel under-appreciated, anxious, stressed, or dissatisfied. When you talk with your friends you may find they feel much the same way. All of you are cattle riding the train to work, getting your kids off to school, drudging through another day at the office or in whatever you do, only to come home and go through the motions until bed time. Why is this happening? It could be that you’re not acknowledging all the wins you have every day and you’re probably not taking time to be grateful for the people and little moments that make life special.

Last week I realized a number of wins that I had been working on for some time. As each one happened, I took a moment to privately celebrate my wins. Remember the joy you felt as a child when something went your way? That’s the kind of celebrating I’m talking about. I was so excited I was high-fiving my husband even though he seemed a bit bewildered. I also took a moment to realize that with each win there were people who supported me, encouraged me, helped me, or did things to make it easier for me to achieve my win. Again, I took a moment to think about those people and how grateful I was for them and what they did. Sometimes it was silent gratitude but when possible I acknowledged them in person, by phone, or in writing. This heightened awareness led me to take time to watch and appreciate the sunset each evening, enjoy a glass of wine with friends, and experience a special closeness with my husband while kayaking on a beautiful afternoon.

By the end of the week I felt like I was literally soaring through the air. It felt like my feet were barely touching the ground as I walked. It was awesome! It was energizing and made me want to fly even more.

Last week could have been just another week if I wasn’t practicing The Responsibility Process and the wins and acknowledgements that help me see the wonder in my life.

Start flying first class from now on. Get on board with The Responsibility Process.




Cathy Laffan

CL Nov 2013_cropCathy Laffan is a member of The Leadership Gift™ Program and accredited as The Leadership Gift Practitioner. She is a Managing Director with 24 years of experience working for a leading global financial services firm. She has 20 years of experience in the project management field and is certified as a Project Management Professional.

A champion of flexible work arrangements, Cathy has been working remotely full-time for 4 years. Cathy is also a Toastmaster and has earned the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader designations from Toastmasters International.


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Posted in Responsibility on 08/24/2015 01:17 am
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