An Airport Follow Turned Lesson

Here is another excerpt from my about-to-be-released book on Monday, Dec 17th!  To pre-order a book and save 20% visit http://www.bouncetoresilience.com

“Jim is attracted to people. He is a people watcher and a student of human behavior. He is fascinated with them and thrives when conversing with his best buddies or a complete stranger. Just give him a smile or some small opening, and off he will go. He will talk about the weather, politics, or some local happening. As he talks to someone, you can see a mutual interest and consideration. Jim has that type of personality where people feel welcome and will open up during conversation. Whenever we would go out for an evening, it was always fun to wait for the conversation that was inevitable. Sometimes the discussion lasted for a while. And at the end, there were always handshakes given, smiles exchanged, and everyone’s lives were a little better as a result of the encounter. Sometimes though, a cold shoulder was given to Jim.

Follow me car 1

Follow me car 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Whether the interaction is invigorating or frustrating, Jim argues that there is typically something of relevance to glean from any situation. For example, early in Jim’s career, when he was traveling a lot, he was in Iowa and got himself turned around on the way to the airport. There were no cell phones at this time, and there were no GPS units in the cars to easily provide Jim with vital information. Jim began to panic as the boarding time for his flight was closing in on him.

He stopped at a local store, and in an earnest voice asked, “Can you help me get to the airport?”

Overhearing the request, an older man responded, “Hey there. I’m headed that way. Follow me.”

 Jim was grateful and hopped into his car. Once he was in pursuit of his leader, he realized. I have no idea how long we are out from the airport. I am at the total mercy of this man. Five more minutes passed, and Jim could feel himself getting more anxious. What am I supposed to be getting from this? I am supposed to learn a little about responding to stress he thought to himself. Another five or so minutes passed. Why is he driving so slowly? Jim was feeling himself get impatient. I can’t even drive ahead—I have no idea where to go. He looked at the clock in the car. He was cutting it so close. I’m going to miss my plane. I’m going to miss my plane. Jim then shook his head side to side and thought, well, no need to get so upset. There’s nothing I can do about it. If I miss the flight, I miss the flight. I can reschedule it and I’ll figure something out. With that realization, Jim’s shoulders relaxed and his mood shifted. Once he remembered that he could look at a situation in any way he wanted, he choose the more positive path.

 

With this new mindset, Jim followed the stranger. He considered his surroundings and reflected on his upcoming day. This slight shift in attitude made all the difference in the world. Jim ended up at the airport with only a few minutes to spare, but he did make his flight. He, more importantly, decided a few things from this one experience. First, Jim reminded himself that having a complete conversation to fully understand the situation in question was paramount. “I knew I should have asked more questions. I knew I should have paused a bit more before jumping in the car,” Jim said. “Even if it took one or two more minutes, having as much information at my disposal was important. Preparation is key. Period.” Jim also realized that things just happen sometimes and you just have to go with the flow; at times there is nothing you can do and you have to be all right with that. You have to be confident enough and trusting enough and positive enough to say, “It’s all right. It will work out. I trust that things will be fine.”

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