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November 4, 2021

Life doesn’t Get Better by Chance: Reflections on Tiny Planes, Xanax & Change.

 

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Recently, I went to New York City for a business workshop and had my mind blown.

Along with four other inspiring female business owners, I spent an unforgettable few days hosted by our business coach, learning new thought patterns, unlearning old habits, facing and conquering massive business and personal fears, and occasionally sipping wine.

What I didn’t expect was for one of the most meaningful parts of the trip to be the epic journey home.

To make a long (like 20-plus hours in the airport long) story short, I found myself on an old, tiny plane, facing one of my biggest personal fears head-on. Up until that day I had always identified as a nervous flier. Someone with a Xanax bottle that says “for pre-flight anxiety” on it. The smaller the plane, the stronger my fear.

But this time, it would be different. The work I had done the days before was so inspiring that I decided I wasn’t going to buffer this plane ride the old-fashioned way with benzos and/or mimosas. I was going to face my fears and adjust my mindset.

To hold myself accountable, I told basically anyone who would listen what my plans were. I was not going to be the chick sneaking Xanies from her carry-on. It’s unnecessary. My intrusive visions of aircraft disaster were not based on anything other than my own fears and lack of control, and I was tired of it. This was my challenge. I decided I was sick of being scared and it was time for a change.

Turns out, the universe heard me loud and clear. Now I had to prove my intentions.

First, we somehow found the slowest and most passive Uber driver in NYC to take us to the airport. Then, the longest and slowest airport security line ever. Then, the unannounced, last-minute gate change discovered only after a sprint through the terminal that would have made Allyson Felix (or, for those who haven’t watched the Olympics since the late 80s, Flo Jo) say “Damn, Girl!” followed immediately by my travel partner and I watching our plane leave without us. Then, none of the airline rescheduling apps or phone lines were working. Then, we were directed to the one human who could help us (who also happened to be helping several other people due to those unexpected gate changes and app malfunctions). Then, there was the last-minute, late-night hotel search followed by a restless night’s sleep. Then finally, there was the early morning flight the next day. Or so we thought.

After sitting on the plane for about 30 minutes, we were informed that there was a “biohazard incident” (read: the airplane toilet was clogged). After the maintenance crew spent 75 minutes trying unsuccessfully to fix the toilet, we were deboarded and sent to another plane with a (thankfully) functional lavatory. Boarded and ready to go, anxious to take off, the entire airport shut down because Air Force Two landed. I’m serious. The universe did not come to play.

A funny thing happened during all this time. My thoughts, which started the day before, along the lines of “Oh man, I hate being on planes,” had gradually changed to “My God, get me on that damn plane right now or else…”

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After a short wait, Air Force Two was clear. We took our place in line, and the little old plane finally took off.

Suddenly, I’m nervous again for a few minutes. Then, something happened. I thought back to the previous few days and all the work I had done. I wanted more. I wanted to deeply feel my discomfort and come out the other side feeling differently because I realized that our lives don’t get better by chance; they get better by change.

One of the things that helped keep me present and calm on that little plane was a discussion my coach had with us over the weekend about freeing ourselves and our businesses from limiting beliefs, worry, and anxiety, and instead making intentional choices about who we wanted to be.

I decided I wanted to be a person who was excited to fly. No meds, no buffer. Just me and my mindset. I wanted to be different. And I was. I made a choice to change.

Life is different when you allow it to be.

Your life changes when you challenge yourself to live in the present.

Your life changes when you make decisions based on who you want to be, not on who you’ve always been—or have believed you are.

Your life changes when you stop believing everything you automatically tell yourself.

Your life changes when you create new, intentional beliefs about the world and your place in it.

Your life changes when you challenge yourself to change.

Your life doesn’t get better by chance; it gets better by change.

 

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