Some folks naturally take initiative without hesitation. As the saying goes, they “shoot first and then aim.” Others think things through and evaluate every option and possible outcome before taking action.
Most entrepreneurs lean towards taking action, though there are certainly extremes on both ends of the spectrum.
I tend to think first and then act. But I must admit that when I go with my gut and act quickly, I’m almost always glad I did. Here’s an example I will remember for life:
I needed to take a business trip to the U.K., and Air France was offering a special one-way flight to Paris on the Concorde (a retired supersonic passenger airliner). Being an avid private pilot, I jumped at the opportunity.
I got excited while waiting in the departure lounge, hoping I might be able to sneak a peek into the cockpit. But whenwe boarded, the other passengers and I were instructed to get to our seats ASAP.
Not deterred, I found a lull in the boarding process and made a bee-line to the cockpit – where I engaged the pilots in a great conversation. I even told them about a somewhat embarrassing mishap I once made when piloting a single-engine Piper (see my article, published in AOPA Pilot).
The captain and his crew got a kick out of my story. Feeling some rapport building, I decided to “go for it.”
I looked the captain straight in the eyes and said, “I see you have an extra seat up here. Any chance I could come up during the flight to see how you guys fly this thing?” I then gulped and waited for his response.
The captain hesitated for what seemed like an eternity and said, “Um … I don’t know. Where are you seated?”
I gave him my seat number, thanked him and his crew, and walked back to my row, feeling proud of myself for having the guts to make such an absurd request. And, I told myself, at least he blew me off in a kind way. Or did he?
About an hour into the trip, a flight attendant approached me, kneeled down and whispered in my ear, “The captainhas asked that you join him in the cockpit. And you will need to secure your luggage because you will be there for landing in Paris.”
I was ecstatic and couldn’t believe my luck!
Can you imagine what the other passengers were thinking as I walked past them on my way to the “front office?” (Of course, this was pre-9/11, but even so, it was a big deal.)
This was the kind of opportunity that comes around once in a lifetime, and what an experience it was – all because I decided to go for it!
I try to remember this as I continue through life’s explorations – particularly as an entrepreneur, where the unknown is where the real treasures are found.
Through this experience and others since, I have come to realize that we all have our “go for it” moments. Sometimes we jump at those opportunities, and other times we talk ourselves out of it.
What will you do the next time you get the chance to take flight?
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