40-Day Business Leadership Peak Performance Programme Day 14: Get on the Plane

Fear of flying?

Yesterday we talked about the businessperson with a fear of flying. I once read an excellent article on flight anxiety. It explained:

“Business people are quite tense about something to do with work, how it will go in a meeting. They board a plane and are preoccupied – thinking about the meeting perhaps. Suddenly they hear a change in the engine noise, or the plane hits turbulence. Then they realise they are anxious.

“Instead of recognising the real source of their anxiety – the work – they attribute their anxious feelings to the flying. The next time they board an aircraft they react in the same way – anxiously.

So you get the idea that they are nervous but don’t realise they are nervous? Then the plane does something and now they are aware they are anxious. Then they hook anxiety up to plane travel. Got the idea?

It gets so bad that people who need to fly on a regular basis for their work can do a flight anxiety course. Usually these are run by the airlines.

It continues.

“There are flight courses for business people who have to fly as part of their working life. The course participants look at the principles of flight, the high levels of aircraft safety.

They analyse what anxiety does to the body physiologically.

“Armed with an intimate knowledge of their phobias and how to combat them participants then go on a flight.”

Get on the plane

So what are we saying here? Participants then go on a flight? 

We are saying that knowing the theory is one thing but at the end of the programme the participants have to go on an actual flight. They have to take action. Importantly, they have to push through their comfort zones and get on the plane!

In the same way this programme isn’t a theory course. This is an action course. At some point you will need to figuratively get on the plane, too! And that might be uncomfortable.

Don’t just feel uncomfortable, get uncomfortable!

Have you heard of comfort zones? What does the term comfort zones mean to you?

A comfort zone is an aspect of behaviour that was once difficult that is now comfortable and familiar.  For example, when you learned how to walk, crawling was quite comfortable. But you stood up and pushed through the pain of falling over. If you hadn’t of pushed through that comfort zone you’d still be crawling.

There are lots and lots of comfort zones you’ve pushed through for success. You learned to drive or you became good at your job or you learned a skill like playing piano. All of those were once hard to do but you pushed and took your self up to a new level of ability.

David will need to push through the comfort zone of comfort eating. Right now comfort eating feels very comfortable to him. (I’d say familiar.)

However, there are some things you are now so comfortable with that you decide that advancing the game further would make you feel uncomfortable.

So you invest thinking, feelings and behaviours in staying the same – or staying comfortable. Sometimes its not comfort – its familiarity. Some people stay in uncomfortable situations because they are familiar not because they are comfortable.
In some cases just thinking about getting uncomfortable makes you uncomfortable. You fear the fear. For example, Ron is fearful of phoning up customers who owe him money. Jane is uncomfortable about saying ‘No’ to staff who interrupt her.

“I have to fly? I hate flying?”

Back to the plane analogy.  I worked with a business owner who was closing a large deal. The client was on route to Los Angeles and would only sign off on the deal if my client could meet him in a city some two hours flying time away. Otherwise: NO DEAL. And my client was the only one who could approve and sign off on the deal. So that meant he would have get on a plane and fly to that city. There was just one problem. He was petrified of flying. He never flew.

So what should he do?

It was a very big deal. Only he could sign. But he hates planes. Look, we put him on the plane, anyway. He took air sickness pills and wore a eye mask and travelled with a sickness bag on his lap but he flew to the city and did the deal. Incidentally, he survived and what do you know he actually enjoyed the fuss and the treatment he got on the first flight and now he loves flying.

See life is like that. Sometimes you just have to get on the plane!

What’s the plane you need to get on?

What are you avoiding, putting off or procrastinating on?

I recently worked with a sales guy who knew sales theory backwards but he was scared of cold calling. But his job depends on cold calls. His boss knew he was great in front of warm leads but part of his job description was picking up the phone and creating warm leads!

That’s the plane he needed to get on.

Ron had to pick up the phone and talk to late paying customer. Understand Ron believed that if he pushed his customers to pay their bills they would protest and maybe even find a new supplier. That was all in his imagination, by the way! How do we know? Because when Ron ‘got on the plane’ and rang customers the majority were apologetic and paid their bill.
Ironically, Ron now loves chasing late payers! Go figure.

This is not a theory course. It is not a warm, fuzzy intellectual chat. It is an action program. You have to ‘get on the plane’ too! Your plane. You might have to get uncomfortable and take some action. Otherwise all this is a nice set of stories.

Reread this session. What are you aware of that needs action? Are you aware of any comfort zone issues – places where you need to push a little harder perhaps? Things you need to do that might feel uncomfortable? Maybe you need to get uncomfortable? Try and identify an obvious ‘get on the plane’ action you need to take.

Listen to a great podcast about mountain bikes.


Remember David. He needs to get very uncomfortable around comfort eating. He needs to fly SkinnyJet, but getting on that plane is going to be hard work!

Ron needs to fly PayUpJet and Jane needs to fly Get-To-Work-On-Time-Or-Else-Jet.

Got it? See you tomorrow. By the way, remember the disclaimer from the start of the programme. Please do not get on a huge, gimungous life-changing plane, just yet! Remember: small, conservative baby steps.

Andrew Priestley is a qualified business leadership coach with clients worldwide. He is the author of The Money Chimp, Starting and How Money Flows Through Your Business. You can contact him through www.andrewpriestley.com or click Contact.

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It goes without saying this is information only and that the The Author cannot be held responsible for any losses or damages that occur as a result of reading this material . 

© 2017 Andrew Priestley/TCE Ltd

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