A few weeks ago, my blog revealed some personal insight into some recent challenges. There was a tremendous response and concern from many. It has been greatly appreciated. I’m fine. Life is full of ups and downs. At my core, there is always an optimist.
noun: optimist; plural noun: optimists
- a person who tends to be hopeful and confident about the future or the success of something.
Soul-Searching: Who Am I?
My aviation journey has led me to a great deal of personal development and continuous soul-searching. Sometimes, subconsciously. At times, it’s weird and I’m quite frankly, caught off-guard! It has often left me feeling disjointed and uncomfortable, with no explanation or resolution. It has most definitely caused joy and some upheaval as well. This is one of those experiences that is difficult to illustrate to others when they ask me to explain how aviation has changed me and/or my life.
Please take a listen here to a recent podcast where we discuss some of the changes I’ve experienced: http://stuckmicavcast.com/podcast
You Always Need Friends!
Most people probably expect to hear the benefits of change, but figuring out who you truly are can be a nutty, difficult and painful process. It creates a new way of life and new priorities. It takes a lot of grit, faith, purpose, and really good friends. Friends that will listen and cheer for you no matter what. This great support group is crucial for us to get through this crazy thing we call life! We must surround ourselves with people that bring out the best in us, that inspire us, and accept us. Sometimes it’s hard to find those people and sometimes it’s like a divine intervention! They just pop right into your life at the perfect moment and it’s like you’ve known each other forever. That’s the best, isn’t it?? 🥰 It doesn’t happen often. These individuals, for some unknown reason, just make you feel “alive.” Oftentimes, it’s unexplainable how or why you have a connection. It’s a natural feeling of ease, joy, and comfort. Those are the best kind of friendships. You always have a great time together, even if you’re disagreeing. You can argue one minute and laugh the next. They love you when you’re all dolled up. They love you when you’re a hot mess lying around in your pajamas all day covered in cookie crumbs.
Let’s Not…And Pinterest
There are a lot of deterrents to change. There are a lot of reasons to “just not go there.” I’ve heard voices screaming in my head when things have gotten challenging. Thank God for Pinterest and YouTube! They are my go-to in the middle of sleepless nights when I need to feed myself kind words and inspiration. Some of it is wishy-washy. There are TED Talks that seem to be speaking directly to me (picture me under a spotlight with “Alleluia” music in the background). The Pinterest Gods seem to know what words I need at a particular moment. Their meaning seeps into me as I’m nodding my head in curiosity, “Am I being watched?!?!”
Values-They’re Not Just For Wal-Mart
Over the past twenty years, there have been some verses and some quotes that have gotten me through challenging times and have helped me stay focused on the outcome I’m striving for: the big picture. What makes some words speak to me but maybe not to someone else? It’s my personal values. These principles were recently unearthed and clearly affirmed thanks to a therapist. And you too can pay hundreds of dollars for someone to tell you who you are!! Yay, you! Cha-Ching.
This particular process has changed everything. It’s been the one key to helping me get rid of guilt, appreciating myself and knowing where to allocate my effort and time. It has helped me gain focus on the things that will bring me fulfillment. These personal values define what’s important and can bring ultimate satisfaction and contentment. If you learn anything today, learn that you must define your values. Right now! Don’t wait another minute! I’m serious. Use this website to determine what is important to you and what makes you tick: https://scottjeffrey.com/core-values-list/. Print off the core values list and start circling! There are no wrong answers.
You will never be fulfilled if you are not making decisions based on your values. Once identified, your values can lead you to a life with less worry, filled with excitement and satisfaction. Don’t we all want those things? If you live your life following someone else’s values, things feel strained, uneasy and restless. Sometimes, we measure ourselves based on what other’s values are and it just doesn’t “fit.” As an example, most of us try to make our moms happy by doing something she wants us to do only to be resentful or possibly agitated later. That’s because it’s not necessarily aligned with our values. It may align with hers, but not yours. It’s okay to have different values. It’s when we try to manipulate ourselves into some expectation or into something other than our natural selves that inner tension evolves.
Values change over time too. Mine are very different than they were five years ago, ten years ago, and definitely twenty years ago. That’s normal. Life, people, and experiences change us. We are constantly evolving. It’s a natural process and progression. Never apologize for changing. We are each unique and have our own distinctive role in this world (even if we don’t know what it is).
Warning. Disclaimer. Alert. Caution…
When things change and you start setting boundaries or standing up for your values by taking action that others aren’t used to, there will be resistance. Generally, people want you to stay the same, agree with them and/or want you to believe what they believe. Therein lies the challenge. You’ve changed the program. You can either live with inner turmoil, external turmoil or try to manage both. May the force be with you.
On a personal side note, I’d like to share some of my values. I believe this discovery supports why aviation and the charity of flyGIRL brings me so much fulfillment. At times, I’ve felt guilty for having these desires and needs. I’ve tried to stifle them and it led to something similar to…a volcanic eruption. Hahaha! Sounds fun, right!?! Talk about an adventure vacation. I’m joking. It’s not that bad once you’ve made peace with it. It’s actually liberating!
Just a few of my values that have been revealed to me:
ADVENTURE, PASSION, VITALITY, CHALLENGE, ACHIEVEMENT, INSPIRING, CONNECTION, CREATION, SATISFACTION, SERVICE, FUN, UNIQUENESS.
I can’t wait for you to do a little work and discover what makes you tick. What makes you, you? What matters to you? When you figure that out, it makes decision-making much easier. Cut out all the BS that doesn’t align. Good luck and feel free to share your results with me!
My Top Ten Quotes
As mentioned before, there are a few verses and quotes that help me regroup, focus and provide peace. Some are ingrained in my memory forever and can be recalled in a moments notice (this can be really helpful when you really feel like flipping that guy off that took your parking space). It’s good to have certain words or phrases memorized that really speak to you. When you’re struggling for motivation or fighting some other battle, you can rehearse these personal words. If you find something particularly inspirational, write it down on a notecard (pilots LOVE notecards!) and repeat it a few times every day. Before long, you’ll have it memorized.
These are in no special order, by the way.
1) “There is no “wrong” path. There are only different paths.” This means you can’t make a bad choice. Sometimes we anguish over what’s the right or perfect choice. Perfection is subjective and unobtainable. Each choice leads to a distinct and different journey and experience. You will need to decide which is best for you at the moment. A or B.
2) “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Doing things that are scary is what makes them so rewarding. Push yourself. Complacency is linear and doesn’t produce growth. Humans like growth. It provides a sense of accomplishment. Comfort zones are a result of inaction. There are too many beautiful things to see and do for me to be satisfied living in a comfort zone.
3) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” I do believe in God and this verse is often helpful. It’s been adapted somewhat to reflect how people actually speak in the modern world. That makes it more relatable for me. Whether you believe in God or some other power is personal. This verse can still be helpful in a way that illustrates how we don’t always understand things but if we can accept that we are not in control, the universe has a way of working things out and/or directing you.
4) “So what?! I’ll handle it!” You are capable. You can handle anything. There are opportunities with every encounter. Fall in love with the process of life and growth. It’s all a learning process. We learn from all experiences, good or bad. Remember: there are people with far bigger challenges than you have. Bring it on.
5) “I peacefully allow my life to unfold.” This is one of my favorites! I can’t control the outcome of anything. I can’t make anyone do anything. I can’t force anyone to feel certain things. I will let go and see what happens. There may not always be a clear picture of where your life is going, but so what? Be open to unforeseen opportunities. It’s good to direct yourself in some general direction but being super specific could close your eyes to other opportunities and experiences. Don’t be so laser-focused that you blind yourself!
6) “There will always be someone with more than you and someone with less than you.” Truth. Don’t try to keep up with anyone. It means you’re constantly comparing yourself and not appreciating what you have. It’s a never-ending battle. When my kids start with the “so-and-so has a new…(fill in the blank, blah, blah, blah)” I look directly at them and say those words. Don’t torture yourself.
7) “You are exactly where you need to be.” This is hard to accept sometimes. When I’m hurting, suffering or confused, I remind myself of this. This moment will teach me something. One day maybe the lesson will be revealed to me. Maybe I’ll never understand it. It will shape me, nevertheless.
8) “Adulthood. Let’s not.” Being an adult has its perks, don’t get me wrong. However, let’s keep ourselves in check. Don’t be a killjoy or forget to be silly and laugh. Be carefree and dance around your house. Don’t be so serious all the time. We are bombarded with serious issues and negativity. Don’t be the cousin who keeps up with who brought what or didn’t bring what to the family reunion three years ago. My contribution to reunions is usually napkins. There. I said it. We all need napkins, don’t we? Lighten up!
9) “I could die in my sleep tonight and you’ll be sorry.” This is another goody, usually said with laughter and accompanied by teenaged eye-rolling. I use this when my kids think they’re too big to kiss me good night. Nope. I’m not having it! Live in the moment. We don’t know if we’ll have another day or not (and this always gets an extra hug!).
10) “One day at a time.” Don’t worry about things that may or may not happen today, tomorrow, or next year. It’s a downward spiral we can get sucked into. Worrying sucks the life right out of anyone. It can be debilitating. It’s the vacuum of despair. There are so many variables that we can’t control. Even when we think we know the answers, something can suddenly change the game. When my mind starts going down that mind-boggling path, this quote becomes my mantra. Take care of today. All we have is right now. Remember, you could die in your sleep tonight. Use your energy for dancing and singing, not worrying.
Hopefully, there are a few takeaways for you here. It’s been fun providing some of my “go-to’s” for perspective! Send me some of your favorite quotes or tools too!