|JUST FLY THE PLANE!
Focus on what matters.
It’s both profound and eerie to be living out this moment in history in real-time.
Everything happened so fast.
And it keeps on happening in waves. It overwhelms.
History, as you and I are living it, has taken a pivot toward the unknown.
The confirmed cases.
We watched the world change and the future shrink this week.
It turns out timelines only really matter when you’re feeling safe.
A few short days ago we could speak of five-year plans. Today, even next month feels impossible to see.
Gotta admit that I’m finding it hard to process all this. This degree of change and overwhelm plays havoc with our human sense of pace and scale.
Just Fly the Plane!
Like you, I’m finding it hard to focus forward right now.
This has become an anchoring phrase or mantra for me.
“Just fly the plane” is a phrase from one of my favorite books called “The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande.
He gives an actual sample of the checklist for ENGINE FAILURE DURING FLIGHT.
The very first item on the list is “Fly the Airplane!.”
In times of extreme crisis, as pilots run through worst-case scenarios,
Figuring out what really matters at this moment is the job of a leader.
From there on, it’s all about relying on your training, experience, skill, and instincts to figure out the next right thing to do and then do it the very best that you can.
The priority is to focus on our primary responsibilities; our family, our friends, our faith, our businesses.
As we are forced to slow down, there is an opportunity to do the work we’ve put off amid the swirl and busy-ness to which we are constantly subjected.
Suddenly, all of that stuff I’ve put off, all of the things I meant to get to personally and professionally are available for me to do now.
Why I Like Checklists
It’s easy to scoff at checklists when we think of them as scrawled reminders or a glorified to-do list.
However, when a checklist outlines what really matters In a concise user-friendly format, it becomes a powerful tool.
A few things on my pandemic strategy checklist are:
1. Keeping some things that are familiar and at the same time establishing some new routines that support self-care- physical, mental, spiritual, emotional.
2. Being available for “friend support” and staying connected with you and others who are important in my life, even though we’re socially isolating and distancing.
3. Practicing self-discipline by putting some boundaries on “worry time”. I.E. not over-saturating with ongoing updates. It’s good to stay informed. Overdoing it can lead to anxiety-fuelled fatigue.
4. Getting back to some of those personal and work projects that have been waiting. Especially those under finished “deep work” type projects that require uninterrupted focus.
5.Taking things (and days) one at a time. Finding ways to help and support others less fortunate.
6. Finding gratitude and joy in the things that I can do. Making a checklist of things to get back to once this blows over.
I can’t pretend to know what happens next.
We all have to focus forward.
Until next time,
Are you finding this article useful? There’s more at #HeyWhatsNext?
PS I’m working with several clients right now to chart their course through this unique moment.
Each business has challenges, but each call ends with greater clarity.
Each person leaves with a plan that makes sense for them, even in times of uncertainty.
All you need for our first call is your time and attention; I’ll bring mine as well. Ready to get started? Let’s connect.
Subscribe to Get a Free E-book: 7 Principles of Leading Change
Subscribe today and I'll send you my complimentary e-book on navigating change and a monthly support article on effective leadership.