“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler
When I was growing up, I’d hear adults talking about how fast time goes by and think they were crazy. As a kid it seems like it’s going to be forever before you get to do all these things that adults do that seem so exciting. It feels like you’ll never get there.
Fast forward to today. I think about something that’s happened in the past that doesn’t seem that long ago and it turns out it’s been ten years (or more!). Life goes quickly. We do not have an unlimited amount of time to do the things we want to do. On top of that, life in the 21st century seems to come at us so quickly that it can feel like life is completely out of control.
The reality is we do have the ability to pilot our lives. Someone once said that some people make things happen, some people have things happen to them, and some people wonder what happened. Contrary to how we sometimes feel, we all have the ability to make things happen in our own lives. We can be the pilots. We can make things happen.
As a leader, even if you believe that, it can still be overwhelming. There are so many things that could be changed or done that you don’t know where to begin. To keep with the pilot analogy, have you ever seen a cockpit? There are literally hundreds of dials and monitors and controls. Where do you start? So maybe you pick something that’s flashing or making noise, and work on that. But what if that thing really doesn’t matter?
So here’s how I’d start. Before you run off and begin a project, think about WHERE you really want your business (or life) to be. How would you like to describe your business to a complete stranger 5 years from now? Would you like your business to be bigger than it is? More profitable? Selling certain products? Doing business with certain customers? Doing business in certain geographic areas?
WHERE do you want to be personally? Do you want to be in the same role in 5 years? Living in the same place? Do you want to take on something new? Do you even want to be part of the same organization?
The point is that with time flying we don’t have time to waste on things that don’t matter. And we’ll never figure out what matters if we don’t paint a clear picture in our heads of WHERE we’re going. Only then will we be happy with ourselves as pilots.
You have a choice every day whether to be the pilot of your own life. You can choose to let the plane go where someone else tells it to go. Or you can take the controls and fly wherever you want. It’s up to you.