Watching airplanes take off and land at LAX is still an endless source of inspiration and excitement for me. My father traveled a lot when I was young and we frequently dropped him off and picked him up at the airport. To this day, my inner child thinks planes are cool. But more than just cool, they’re the perfect analogy for explaining the secret of achieving success in business, and in life.
While modern airplanes are incredibly complex, the physics of flight are actually fairly simple. There are four physical forces at work with heavier-than-air aircraft: lift, thrust, weight/gravity, and drag. To achieve flight, an aircraft’s lift must balance its weight, and its thrust must exceed its drag. The wings give it lift and the engines provide thrust. Drag is the force pushing against the aircraft (or holding it back).
How is this like success in business, and in life? Success (flight), however you define it, requires that the things working for it exceed the forces working against it. And while this seems simple, there is a secret to it all: You have to be able to identify and reduce drag, in all of its forms. And it’s VERY likely you are experiencing drag right now that you aren’t even aware of.
Mental drag happens in many ways and can take many forms. Stress is one of them. The more stress you have in your life, the more inefficient you will be. Distraction is another. People may come into your office when you’re working diligently on a project with unrelated questions that you have to stop an answer. Your phone may go off with a text message. Or an email notification pops up on your screen. Anything that takes you out of flow, distracts you, and/or causes you increased stress is drag. And as much as I get push-back on this one, multitaskers have a TON of drag. (See my blog “Do Less And Achieve More.”)
Problems in your relationships create a tremendous amount of emotional drag. They hinder focus, increase distraction, lower motivation, and generally keep you grounded.
Think about your garage or your closet. How many items are currently in those spaces that you don’t use, haven’t seen or used in months or years, or perhaps have even forgotten about? Every one of these items is creating drag in your life. They pull on your energy and create hemorrhage that you might not even be aware of. Even if you don’t know the item is in there, it is in your life and not being used in service to flight.
How many items on your task list have been there for more than a few days? What about unimportant emails in your inbox? How many “around-to-it’s” do you have in your life? These are all creating drag. They take attention, time, and energy away from your flight. They can be frustrating and create stress every time you look at or think about them.
Do you want proof? How did it feel the last time you took action to remove drag in your life? I’ll wager it felt good. Perhaps getting one thing done led to getting another done, and perhaps another. And maybe you even said, “It feels like a weight has been lifted.”
That’s because that is exactly what happened.
So here is your opportunity!
Take a moment to consider your mental, emotional, physical, and virtual worlds. Where are you experiencing drag? What is something you might be able to do to lighten the load? What action items, calendared meetings, or emails can you defer, delegate, or delete? What items can you sell, donate, or just leave out by the curb? Where can you make a self-honoring choice in a relationship? What can you do to relieve stress?
Consider making a commitment to decreasing drag in your business, and/or in your life and see how much easier it is to fly. Share your suggestions or comment on Facebook! And for inspirational messages (or random goofy stuff) follow me on Twitter and Instagram! And if you need suggestions, you know where to find me.
It’s your kingdom. Make it REIGN.