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life lesson learned...from an 11 year old

When my son, Shane and his twin sister were five years old, my wife Katie and I planned a surprise vacation to Disney World. Katie had it all planned out. We sent all three kids to school as normal, and planned on picking them up early to head to the airport.

Katie filled the mini van with balloons and we were excited to see their reaction when we let them in on the surprise. I expected them to be super excited, heck we were going to Disney World!!

That was the first time any of our three children flew on an airplane. And the first time I got an unexpected introduction to my son's anxiety. Shane was absolutely petrified to go on the plane, and begged us not to go.

He didn't want to get into the car. Hardly the excited reaction I was expecting. It took a lot of convincing, and a bit of bribery to talk him down and get him to go on the plane, but we eventually did it!.

During the week at Disney, Shane kept asking us to drive home vs going back on the plane. He was very anxious and preoccupied about our return flight. Katie and I did our best to calm him down, but I remember how somewhat obsessed he was all week long about that return flight, which certainly took away from the fun he was supposed to be having.

Over the years, Shane's anxiety only increased, and he became dead set against flying ever again. We decided not to push the issue and instead, simply avoided any destination we couldn't drive to. No big deal.

Last week, six years later, and completely out of nowhere, Shane asked if he could fly with me, as I recently obtained my Private Pilot Certificate. I didn't think he was serious, said "Sure!" and just brushed it off. But he continued to ask, and when I asked why, he said that he "just wanted to go."

So I picked a nice calm day and took him to the airport for a quick flight. I fully expected him to change his mind, but to my surprise he didn't. We went through the pre-flight inspection and got ready to depart. He remained quiet most of the flight, but he seemed to be tolerating it pretty well. When we landed, I asked him how he liked it.

Then came another one of life's lessons. He said he was scared, especially when we hit a bit of turbulence, but he knew he had to "face his fears" ( not that he had much of a choice, after we were in the air, lol) and he asked if I was proud of him.

Was I proud? OMG, you bet!!!! It was an amazing moment in time that I'll have for the rest of my life. Here is an 11 year old boy who was absolutely terrified, but somehow knew that you have to face your fears in order to get over them.

I want you to think about a fear you may have. Unlike Shane's fear of flying, your fear might be related to business or life in general. Since now you know that when you face that fear, it will lead to growth, isn't it worth pushing through and defeating it?

I encourage you to take a moment (right now!) to identify what that fear is? And then I want you to think of Shane ~ the courageous 11 year old that faced his fear. Hopefully that will inspire you to take action like it has for me.

Take Flight,


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