You are at the airport, your original starting point. It’s all very exciting with lots of places to go, exciting destinations lie ahead of you.
You picked a flight, it’s a safe flight and it’s been flown many times before with people arriving at very similar destinations.
You board the aircraft, carrying all your baggage, some for the hold and some under your seat and some in the overhead lockers.
The aircraft was given permission to take off and the aircraft starts taxing, joining 27R the departure – your Career Land! It has all your hopes, your dreams and your expectations – it’s all there.
Your parents and your friends, your college peers have all helped you choose the flight you’re now on. The engines rev up in the airport air. The aircraft starts to vibrate with the noise and the power from the engines. Excited, holding the arm of the chair you brace yourself and the aircraft starts trundling down the runway; full throttle, 300 people all taking the same journey, all sharing the same aircraft.
The same destination – manager, director, CxO… Was that really your choice?
You climb through the clouds, experiencing mild turbulence but that’s it. Maybe some heavier turbulence as you level out – thoughts and feelings and those internal personalities, that chatter and clutter our thoughts. You’re above the clouds, 40,000 feet above earth and once what was clear, has now merged to a horizon of everything, of what everybody else can see – the details missing and the departing airport miles behind you.
You’re at 40,000 feet, 300 souls / egos on board the aircraft all heading to their destination, cruising at 500 miles an hour – this in flight for the next 12 hours; you are in it for the long haul.
Along the journey, you have some thoughts and you start to get hungry, homesick, worried and asking yourself: have I made the right decision. Doubt, fear, and lack of confidence served throughout as part of the on-board entertainment. Free films seen many times before, radio and the in-flight magazine with glossy advertising. The offer of complimenting nuts, crisps, and for those with more leg room – a glass of champagne.
Your spirits lifted by the odd pick-me-up and destination repackaged and painted in the new kings clothes. Hold on, others thoughts bubble up – things are just not right.
Other journeys have already landed, crashed, disappeared but they have got up and rescheduled, repackaged and purchased new tickets for new destinations. Their failures now being redefined.
You feel a weight getting heavier and stroll up and down the aisle of the aircraft. Other people are happy and others share your anxiety.
Looking overhead in your locker, you search for those magazines that you purchased at the start of your flight. You flick through the glossy pictures promising open, is traffic free roads for those brand-new cars, glimpsed in the posh avenues of your destination city.
You flip through your bag some more and you find a parachute. It has some writing on it; some words written from when you were a child, from those early aspirational thoughts about what you wanted to be when you grew up. A few other words start to make sense: purpose, dream, destiny and opportunity.
What happened to the artist, painter, pilot, singer, writer, author, poet, composer, dancer, photographer, explorer?
You start to look around you and ask – What is around you? your peers, the person flying the plane and it doesn’t bother me when he says, it’s all on ‘autopilot’ – it just takes me and it does what is required, and I stay within the rules and obey what I’m told. My head is telling me but my intuition should be guiding me.
The parachute is getting heavier and heavier, he tries it on before it gets too heavy. You put it on and it feels right to put on, and you’re starting to do something about those feelings – it feels right, it feels good.
It’s scary but it’s exciting and new, as you shuffle to the door and hold the handle. Your fingers clenched around the handle, tightness around the knuckles and the muscles tiring in the arms and the back but still you hold. You look around, you speak, seeking that last-minute advice. Don’t do it, the grass is greener, as someone shouts, you’ve got a great career ahead of you and only six hours to go and you could make it to the top, top of the career ladder: pension, car, your own office, private bathroom and expense account.
You notice your hand pushing the lever down, it feels so easy and the door opens. There is no loss of pressure, a slight whoosh – some gasps and some office gossip.
The door is open and you jump. The relief that hits you as you bump the clouds on the way down, the freshness of the minute. It’s clean and alive, all that expectation in those early aspirational thoughts. The coldness of 40,000 feet wraps your skin and for once in your life, you are alive and you are living.
The parachute is working because you’ve opened it and all that was once hidden and cooped up is now shaping your destiny. Your parachute glides and drifts, knowing the flows and currents of the belief that were always there.
Slowly the shape transforms, as you drift to and the realisation of the detail, that you were once blinded to, lies before you. Closer and closer and with searing clarity, focus pulls together, the beams of refracted light and thought.
This is it and the fulfilment is harnessed – this is just the start of your new journey. Your Will, the strong Will has been used and your first step has been made. You have opened your parachute and with the guide ropes, you have the control and focus to land where you want to land.
Your original destination has changed and no longer holds the magic it once did. It’s overcrowded and you would have been another member on the payroll heading towards the Nineteenth.
The destination is not important, it’s your journey Now and appreciation of how it’s making you feel. The present is always now and not the future..
Wake up, grab your parachute and jump.