Friday, January 02, 2015

Building the plane as you fly it..

I heard this metaphor recently and it really struck a chord with me: “Building the plane as you fly it”.

Actual planes aside I think it’s a great picture about pursuing our dreams and turning them into reality.

For years I deferred ambitions or ideas until the mythical “perfect time” came, or kidded myself that these ideas needed to be fully formed before I could start them, or that I needed to be fully accomplished in a certain skill before I could do them.
"Our creations or circumstances don’t have to be perfect to begin with"
For many dreams or goals in our lives the most important element is to actually get started. I don’t know about you but I’m an expert in prevarication but there is something gloriously liberating in actually getting started. To-do lists are all well and good, like revision charts and business plans, but until you take ACTION they’re just pieces of paper.

Don't wait for perfect conditions..
“Building the plane as you fly it” speaks to me about the importance of action and momentum. Our creations or circumstances don’t have to be perfect to begin with. 

Any great art or work starts unformed and has to go through a process of taking shape. Great artists/composers/writers (insert profession here) all start as beginners at some point in their lives. As long as you have a destination in mind it’s ok to just start. We need to give ourselves permission to begin.

So here it is. You have permission to take action. You are cleared for take-off.

Perhaps this year could be characterised by courageous action for you? Not just the same old half-hearted resolutions but passionate and positive steps towards a meaningful destination – the Promised Land (whatever that looks like for you).
"Perhaps this year could be characterised by courageous action?"
A few years ago I had an epiphany of sorts which led me to take some action towards some dreams I’d had. I realised I’d been unconsciously waiting for perfect conditions and putting my dreams off. A phrase that helped me to take action was “Go with the strength you have”, something that God says to Gideon in the Bible (Judges 6:14). I can relate to Gideon - he is someone else who had discounted or disqualified himself from his divine mission.

It gets easier the further you go..
Starting can often be the hardest part, but once you’re off it’s surprising how easily you can find your rhythm. According to Dr MikeStroud, an expert on human endurance, when you start running the first couple of miles feel the hardest. This is because it takes time for the various energy systems in the body to kick in, so you feel short of breath and your muscles feel like they are working hard as they generate an oxygen debt. 

After that, however, when the body starts sending the oxygen where it’s needed, the task becomes much easier and we have the capacity to run much further than we think. Ironically, many people give up too soon because they haven’t run far enough.
"You have permission to take action. You are cleared for take-off."
If you’ve ever found New Year’s resolutions hard to keep, you’ll know that there is a gap between starting out toward something and getting there. Weight loss or fitness goals for instance don’t occur overnight. We need to surrender ourselves to the process, and live with the tension between enjoying the journey and keeping the goal in mind. Building the plane (the process) as we fly toward our destination.  

As we enter a new year it’s usual to think about what’s gone well or not so well in the past twelve months. As I’ve been reflecting I realised that I’ve achieved lift-off in a number of areas without anything like a complete plane.
"Many people give up too soon because they haven’t run far enough"
I want to encourage you that you can achieve flight too – it takes courage, focus, direction and persistence but you are officially cleared for take-off. Go with the strength that you have, but GO!

It’s time to start flying whether your plane’s built or not!


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My Random Musings


Wendy said...

This is a very inspiring post and something I really needed to read. I am feeling a little stuck in a rut at the moment, there are things I want to achieve but I am so worried I am not going to be able to. I will never know if I don't try, I need to just believe in myself a bit more I think and go for it. Feeling very motivated now though so thank you :) #anythinggoes

Luke Strickland said...

Thanks Wendy, hope you keep motivated - glad the post connected with you!