So you get a trip. It’s a 12-hour flight from Paris to Tokyo. You are carrying six passengers and four crew; including yourself. All beds in the cabin are filled and your crew rest seat is now occupied by the relief pilot. You are serving 4-course meals for ten people periodically throughout the flight. You have to stay on your feet because, well, since there is no crew rest, you now have to stand in the galley or use the tiny jumpseat to sit down for a small break. You can’t sit down for too long because you need to ensure that the pilots are well energized and hydrated to complete your mission to Asia. You finally make it to Tokyo. Now, you have to clean the cabin and get it ready for your next mission.
All in all, you have now been awake for 24-hours since you were unable to sleep before the flight and you had to arrive two hours prior to departure. You get to your hotel and sit on your bed. Immediately, you are out like a light (in uniform) for at least ten hours. You wake up only to discover that, yet again, you fell asleep sitting straight up in your uniform. Now, it is 4 AM and you are wired because of the eight hour time change. But, you know if you don’t go back to sleep, your day is ruined. 10 AM rolls around, and you are still awake. You anticipate that your entire day will be ruined because you will most likely take that unforeseen nap around 2 PM; beginning the awful cycle of jet-lagged flight attendant all over again. This is known as fatigue, and as a Flight Attendant, sometimes it’s unavoidable. So how does one overcome this battle and still manage to conquer their goals outside of flying?
I get asked all the time – “How do you fly so much and still make time to stay healthy an achieve new goals and other ventures outside of aviation? How do you manage all of this? Do you even sleep?”I want to be very clear on something. When you have a burning desire to achieve your goals, nothing can stop you. I have learned that when I feel like saying no or giving up, I do the opposite. I push harder and I say ‘yes.’ Now, I don’t want you to think I am telling you to go to work on one hour of sleep, looking like a zombie and be one wrong catering order away from snapping on everyone in sight. What I am telling you is that, if you have a goal in mind, you cannot make excuses.
I had a very successful Billionaire ask me, “Griffin, where are you with your goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years and 10 years? How are we going to get there?”My response every time is, “Well, my goal in 5 years is to be sitting in your seat, on my own jet. Here is what I am currently working on and how I plan to get there!” What is fascinating is that my clients always invest their time in me and give me advice on how to get where they are— which I am extremely grateful for. The common theme is one thing: A BURNING DESIRE. Each and every person I fly has been exactly where I am. The only difference is that I have found is that they have more battle wounds. They have had more ‘No’s’ in life, but still managed to keep going. More significantly, they did NOT make excuses. When you have a goal, you can’t let unforeseen detours become excuses for why you are not where you expected or hoped to be.
If there is one thing every corporate flight attendant can agree on it’s that our clients don’t like the word NO. At first, this is something that was a challenge for me. How do I “make it happen” with limited resources? One day, it finally clicked in my mind. My clients don’t accept no because, in the beginning, they said ‘yes!’ They made it happen and they didn’t make excuses, therefore, they are now sitting on a private jet and doing things most people only dream of doing. Bill Gates once said (in a quote), “You can make excuses, but you can’t make money out of excuses.” I realized that if I wanted to be where the people that I fly sit, I cannot make excuses. I said ‘yes’ and made it happen for them.
I also started making time. Every single person has 24 hours in the day. It is how you choose to spend those 24 hours that will determine how far you are from your goals. I have come to the realization that even when doing everything in your power to reach a goal, obstacles are inevitable and will happen. So, prepare for them. If you know you are trying to stay healthy and probably not going workout for two days because of a red-eye flight, are you going to workout before you leave to keep your goals in sight? Are you going to plan ahead what YOUR meals will be for the flight, so you won’t be tempted with the delicious molten lava cake you will be serving your passengers? Or, are you going to run around last minute with no time to plan for yourself? What about fatigue? If you know you are going to be flying all night and have the chance to sleep in the morning before or catch a nice nap, are you going to plan ahead? Taking care of you cannot be neglected.
Daymond John once said (in a quote), “Life is like Business. 20 percent of what happens to you is 80 percent how you react.” How do you react when a curve-ball is thrown your way? If you plan ahead, you will give yourself time to sit back, wait for the pitch, and swing when the time is right. If you know me personally, you will know that I have been thrown many curve-balls this year. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, and giving up on my vision, I kept going and surrounded myself with an incredible team. The people in your life will either help you stay focused on your goals and dreams or distract you from what you are working towards. Life will happen, but are you ready? Focus on your burning desire and never lose sight of that. Your vision is too powerful to quit on.
If you want to see change in the world, it starts with you. Imagine how different our world would be had Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. not taken a stand. Imagine how many lives that would have affected? Or imagine if Bill Gates gave up on his vision? How different technology would be now. Change starts with you. Be obsessed with everything you do. Others are counting on you.
*This blog post was first published on Theflightattendantlife.com.