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When In Doubt, Ignore the Darkness. Fly Toward the Light.

For every storm cloud, there’s a ray of sunshine.

But what if there is no light at all? How do we navigate a dark sky when there is no visible alternative?

Fly to the Light

Just after obtaining his pilot’s license, a dear friend from the Midwest found himself surrounded by unexpected thunderstorms.

He clambered for every streak of sunshine he could find, ultimately zigzagging his way to a safe landing.

Here’s what he so eloquently shared about that experience:

“That principle is a metaphor for my life.

It seems that I have always flown to the light. If there was resistance or a combination of obstacles, I just vectored my way between them or around them.

That approach is superior to flying blindly into clouds. You never know what’s in the cloud or on the other side of it. There could be another plane or there could be a bolt of lightening. You just never know.

Flying in the light allows the pilot to see what’s coming and take evasive action. I commend that approach to you. When given the choice between taking a chance in the dark or flying in the light, choose the light. At least you have a chance if you can see what’s coming and have a chance to avoid it.

Fly to the light, live in the light and avoid darkness, whenever possible.”

What If There IS No Light?

There is only one time that is important – NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time we have any power over. ~ Leo Tolstoy

I remembered this message from my dear friend, who regularly writes to his family and friends, as I was diving deeply into our upcoming Leadership Course about how to become a More Effective Leader.

Since the circulation of his letter is both limited and private, I have chosen to use quotation marks so that his voice is clearly heard because his spare prose more eloquently describes his philosophy of “flying to the light” than anything I could muster.

He went on to describe what happens if there is no light at all?

How do we navigate a dark sky when there is no visible alternative?

That’s not to say that living in the light is always possible. There are times when obstacles must be confronted.

Generally, that will be necessary where there is no light to fly to. When that happens, you must stiffen your spine, take a deep breath and engage the obstruction. When there is no other option other than retreat or capitulation, charge.

I don’t like to retreat. Retreat leaves me with a dissatisfied feeling about myself. I try to avoid that.”

Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?

I know that in the early days of my career, I was much more inclined to charge straight ahead into the dark clouds even when the path of sunshine was clearly before me.

Today, I recognize my behavior was more a function of arrogance and hubris than wisdom or insight. Sometimes I charged because I knew I could.

I had little desire to leave much on the table for the other party.

At other times, I vainly sought any ray of light to avoid the inevitable disaster I saw coming.

But, I wasn’t very good at it, and my hard-charging tendencies inspired the resistance that hastens rather than dispels the storm clouds.

Who’s your copilot? Is someone in the jump seat?

It’s never easy to navigate when the light is barely visible or accessible.

Our success requires that we are both relentless and resourceful, with a positive attitude as our copilot and with determination in the jump seat.

We must grasp that ray of sunshine like an elusive thread drawing us to the Golden Fleece.

I wish I had my friend’s wisdom in those days … and sometimes today as well.

His is a simple but powerful philosophy that is well recommended to all of us.

Just like pilots, we either fly to the light, count on dead reckoning … or depend with absolute certainty that our instrument panel is never wrong.

Being dead wrong is just not a very good option. 

Question: What’s are you doing to stay out of the darkness and fly into the light?

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