The Eiffel Tower will wait, this moment will not

Thoughts on perspective, patience, purpose and passion have been bouncing all over my brain today as I contemplate what it means to succeed at a goal. Often times, we enforce deadlines upon ourselves, arbitrarily, and then get angry at ourselves when we don’t meet them. The most beautiful thing dawned on me this afternoon as I washed the dishes, looking out the kitchen window: This grand, lovely mess of a life is gorgeous and is throbbing with changes and glowing surprises.

Let’s back up a few steps… about 2 months back, while jogging in Wash Park, I tripped and fell… breaking my left hand and splitting my chin open. I wore a hard cast for over a month but now it is off and the bone continues to heal. S-l-o-w-l-y. I can’t make a fist or even pick up a glass of water with my left hand and I am wearing a brace about 75% of the time.

Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.
Henry Ford

For a pilot, a broken hand means you are grounded until strength resumes. Especially when you fly a Cirrus with a left side stick.

When I completed the transcontinental flight from Oakland to Miami, I announced that my next goal would be a July 2012 flight to Paris to honor and celebrate Amelia Earhart’s 1932 flight across the pond. July would give me enough time to complete the instrument rating and move forward with plenty of training. Everything was set, the money, the support, the excitement… then CRASH. I broke the hand that controls the plane and communicates.

Anger, confusion, that burning feeling of *oh my god what am I going to do now* set in, in a very real way. There were tears, complaints, and plenty of four letter words for the first few weeks. This was a full blown, Amelia pity party and I was the only one invited. Not much of a party, right? It lasted a few days… then everything changed. I mean everything.

Leaders must pick causes they won’t abandon easily, remain committed despite setbacks, and communicate their big ideas over and over again in every encounter.” Rosabeth Kanter

Isn’t it funny the way people, ideas, magic come into your life at just the right time? It was time for my big suck it up, get over yourself moment. People get hurt all the time. Plans get changed all the time. This is a small hurdle in an amazing journey of a life. Right around the same time that I was sulking over my casted arm, I came across a book that changed me in a very real way. The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte helped me wrap my brain around what postponement means (and what it doesn’t), being open to the changes that will inevitably happen and seeing the big picture of accomplishment feels like. I read the book lying upside-down on my bed, I slept and I worked out to the sounds of the audio book, I even gave my mom a copy for mother’s day… This book got my head back on straight after things got wonky when my plans changed.

“Great minds have great purposes, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.” – Washington Irving

What I realized is this: Paris is not going anywhere. The sky will always be ready for me to fly. Broken bones are temporary and often times, grow back stronger.

Understanding your relationship to your goals allows you to meet them as a fully present, respectful love-filled do-er. This broken bone helped me see that I am in a long term relationship with flight, with my goals to soar, to help others fly, to live my life in a constant state of curious adventure. The ups and downs are part of the beauty of this glorious flight. Reworking goals, getting stronger, never giving up… sounds so cliche right? Nope… cliches come from repetition and truth.

“Show me a person who doesn’t make mistakes and I’ll show you a person who doesn’t do anything.” – Leonard Rubino

When you fall, when things don’t work out the way you originally planned, when you get smacked by reality, it is ok to mope around for a minute… but listen here: it feels so much better to say it hurts, take care of yourself, and get back to business, even if that means changing your self imposed due dates and deadlines.

When things don’t go according to plan, tear up the plan and write a new one.

Whatever you do, keep rockin’ it to the best of your ability.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

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20 thoughts on “The Eiffel Tower will wait, this moment will not

  1. We can’t always decide the time that we will make our mark, all we can do is be prepared to do so when our time is right. It’s not the mark that counts anyway, but the quality and spirit of the person making it.

  2. Thanks Amelia! Excellent post. …I’m facing a similar situation in my pursuit of an instrument rating. In my case no broken bones but still a several hurdles to overcome.
    Plans must always be adaptable. If they are not then they are only good for moment they are written.

    Thank you for the words of encouragement.

  3. I love this post. Course I love all your posts. =) When life knocks you down, get back up and keep on truckin’. Great inspirational quotes. You are very good at picking great quotes. I’m curious what your reading interests are in addition to the book you mentioned. Praying for your continued and speedy recovery. God Bless ❤

  4. Great post thanks for sharing. Life is full of surprises it is why you do that measures the success V.S. defeats

  5. Good attitude. There is no doubt that you will complete this task – maybe not now, but at a better time. Good luck to you in this and future pursuits. I love to read your updates.

  6. Thank you Amelia!!! So very true and I am going through changes in my plans in terms of my career. I thought everything was right want I wanted and the offer came in and couldn’t make things happen becuase I couldn’t make the numbers work. It’s not the end of the world. Move on, continue to work hard and change the plans as you need to. It will all work out the way it’s meant to if you just stay true to yourself!!!!!

  7. Amelia. You are so inspiring to me for all that you have done in your past, what your doing currently in your life and what you have ahead in your future. I met you a few years back when you emceed the 2008 police and fire awards banquet for the city of Federal Heights.
    I look forward to following your blog and your flight journey in the future.
    Tim

  8. Great perspective, Amelia. You do have a way with words. After reading your blog a verse from Proverbs 16:3 came to mind ‘commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be achieved.’ I know you have been working towards this goal for a long time for yourself and to inspire others young aviators. I pray that your hand heals quickly and you gain renewed strength in your hand.
    -Adam

  9. Yup, even as a kid….when I fell down and skinned my knee, my dad would tell me “rub some dirt on it, suck it up and move on!” Great advice though, at the time, I just wanted to lay there and cry!

    Nice Article Amelia, you are inspiring!

    Rusty

  10. No bueno! Just think of it as more time to prepare, more approaches in a sim (if one is available), maybe a chance to try another aircraft with a right stick;). Or just a chance to hit the books… Crisis is an opportunity riding a dangerous wind.

  11. Really enjoyed this article. Had to reread it. Not too long a go, I too, took a fall, I was ready to pick myself up and go on my way but someone noted my foot going in the wrong direction-I had no pain but had broken my tibia and fibia and it came through my shin – doctors said it would have to be a “non weight bearing heal”. I just thought they’d put on a cast and I’d be on my way. I didn’t realize I would be in a nursing home for a month and then confined to my own home for almost 5 months with therapy. It is over now, and when I find myself in a situation like this, I can’t wear blinders but I do put my first step at the beginning walking through a tunnel and finally I do reach the end of the tunnel -with much happiness. You are strong, just a small set back but I’m still waiting for your flight and you know within yourself, it, too, will happen.

  12. Hi Amelia, Glad that you are coming around and your mental attitude will sure help you deal with your future plans. The exact timing of your flight to Paris is not really critical, but your recovery and mental outlook will be the best. Look forward to hearing more from you as you move forward.

    Regards,
    Wayne

  13. My career path over the last couple of years has been quite unconventional, taking me through doors and to places I never would have imagined. It’s always good to read about a fellow traveler and how they cope with their struggles. I’ve even taken to writing about my own journey.

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