It's Time to Lift: Why Your Biggest Obstacle is Actually Your Best Friend

Married to a pilot for 12+ years, I’ve had an extended lesson in the laws of aviation and aeronautical history. Drew, my husband, is a gem. He is a pilot to the core and he often leaves me in the dust when he shares all sorts of complicated aeronautical… stuff.

But, of all the technical and physiological principles Drew has shared with me through the years, one concept continues to resonate with me on many levels.

The concept is lift.

Lift is the force of air that pushes against a plane’s wing and helps the plane to climb. Without it, no plane can fly. With it, countless aircraft criss-cross the globe everyday.

What really struck me about lift is how it’s achieved. For an airplane to take off, the pilot does something interesting. He doesn’t let the wind propel the plane down the runway, like you may think. He points the airplane’s nose into the wind. That’s right; the pilot seeks out the headwind and he goes straight toward it because he knows that wings use this resistance as a ramp. An airplane can’t take off going downwind. A tailwind doesn’t provide lift; it just pushes a plane in the direction its already going.

I’ve thought about this in several situations in my life, but I most consistently apply it to my creative work. When I’m trying to build or shape something big, there is always a moment when the winds pick up and I’m reminded that what I’m working on is bigger than myself. As I feel a headwind coming, I’ve learned to trust there is some good to be found, some personal growth to experience, or some genuinely innovative idea in the works—if I point my focus and attention toward the wind.

To me:

Lift is how we climb from our current station. Lift is how we see things from a new and bigger perspective. Lift is how we get from here to there.

Now don’t think I go looking for trouble. This isn’t the case at all. It’s simply my approach to the wind. 

Wind can be big and scary. So, if I stand facing the wind I have two choices. I can either be blown down the runway by the very large resistance coming at me or I can choose to let this wind be my ramp and use it to climb.

First published on bamboocreative.com