Have You Ever Imagined?
I wonder if you’ve ever imagined what it would like to be a passenger aboard an aircraft that’s involved in a serious emergency, an emergency that could lead to a fatal crash. Have you imagined what it would be like to be the pilot in a situation like that? An erupting volcano, far from your flight path has filled the atmosphere with tiny but deadly particles that cause all four engines of your 747 to fail simultaneously. Just after take-off, a bird strike knocks out all your engines causing a total power failure and it’s down to you to get the plane down safely because if you fail to do so, not only are you going to die but so will everyone else on board.
If you’re anything like me, I imagine there would be a tendency for you to feel rather bothered.
Now here’s a question for you. Who do you think is more afraid, the pilot or the passengers? It’s the passengers isn’t it? But why?
It’s because the passengers have no control over how things are going to turn out…absolutely none. The pilot is the only one who does. Even he may not be able to prevent a disaster but one thing’s for certain, no-one else can.
In spite of the gut-wrenching fear that even the pilot must experience, he isn’t going to panic. He mustn’t. He must focus on doing everything he can possibly do to avert disaster. It’s worth looking at how he approaches the emergency to see how you might apply his methods to the present situation; namely, launching your career in the post Covid mess. But, first, back to the pilot.
The first thing he will concentrate on is the highly professional training he has received. Most pilots will go through their entire careers never having to handle an emergency like this but all of them will have been trained in how to behave if they’re unlucky enough for it to happen to them. There will be procedures they need to follow that give them the best possible chance of getting down to the ground safely and they know exactly what those procedures are. The second thing they will know is that there are people on the ground who also know what they need to do to improve the chances of the pilot landing the plane safely. There’s air traffic control and there’s the emergency service team, on hand in case there’s a crash landing and the plane bursts into flames. As well as concentrating on flying the stricken plane, the pilot must communicate with the support he can rely on from the people on the ground.
Now let’s talk about the similarities and differences between a situation like this and your attempts to launch your career successfully.
Just like that pilot, yours is a generation that faces a situation you never expected to have to face: launching your career in such adverse circumstances. But, just like the pilot, there are clear procedures you need to follow which will give you the best possible chance of success; and you need to know what they are. If you don’t, there is the risk that you’ll go into panic mode and, either make things worse, or do nothing at all out of fear that anything you do is not going to work! The fear, the anxiety, may be inevitable; but you’ll be able to handle it if you know there is action you can take to reduce the risk of disaster. And there’s another very important similarity and it’s this. While the pilot is the only one who can fly the plane, there are fellow professionals supporting his efforts to land safely. There are people he can talk to who understand what he’s going through and what role they are able to play that will improve his chances.
What about the differences, because these are just as important?
The pilot (and his support team) gets only one chance to save the day. If they fail, the pilot is going to die(along with everyone else on board). You are not going to die! No matter what happens, you are not going to die. If your first job application proves unsuccessful, no-one can stop you applying for another job. Having another go is always an option however many previous failures you’ve had.
But don’t under-estimate the value of your support on the ground. If you experience setbacks, reassurance that you are following the correct procedures will prove invaluable when they appear not to be working. That reassurance might be the one thing that will help you to keep going, to help you realise that all is not lost when you’re beginning to feel that it is!
This is a tough situation that you’re in. But it’s not a hopeless situation.
So, hang on in there. You are going to come through this… and with flying colours. And, like the pilot who did land safely, it will be a heck of a story to tell, a story of how you made it against the odds.
‘Till next time.
From the coach who rocks.