The Sunday Mail
Hunt for Greatness
In air-travel, turbulence is a certainty and a source of anxiety for any traveller or pilot.
Michelle Z. Donahue writing in the National Geographic (2019) said: “In air travel, turbulence is a certainty and a major source of flight anxiety for flyers of all stripes. But understanding what causes turbulence, when it occurs, and the high-tech tools pilots use to make air travel safer and more comfortable may help settle even the most anxious flyer’s nerves.” Turbulence is a part of all life and business. Determine to fly through it and not to be immobilised by it.
Do Not Give Up
Turbulence does not mean that you should give up and that your journey has come to its sudden and violent end. Your mind plays a critical role when flying through any turbulence. Keep focused and stop imagining that you are perishing simply because you are going through turbulence.
Do not make life-long and fatal decisions because the short moment of turbulence seemed like a lifetime.
See through the turbulence and keep your mind on the course you are on. See things as they are not as you wish or imagine them to be.
A pilot manages the situation as it is currently prevailing not as he wishes it could be. The luxury of dabbling in wishful thinking is for careless people that do not understand the consequences of error when flying.
Keep you mind clear and remove fear from being your frontlet. It is is when the turbulence is greatest that the best of captains rise to the occasion and take the helm. If you are a passenger flying through turbulence, no amount of yelling will improve the situation.
Stay calm, focused and moving. Mastery is crafted in the crucibles of turbulence. It is when things are worst that you must not quit and resign to despair, delusion or despondency. Do not give up because you are facing turbulence. Turbulence does not invalidate your dreams and goals. Stay the course and you will get there.
Causes of Turbulence
Michelle Donahue in her article entitled: “What is turbulence – and how can you calm down about it,” goes on to define turbulence and its causes. She says that the definition of turbulence is fairly straightforward: chaotic and capricious eddies of air, disturbed from a calmer sate by various forces.
Rough air happens everywhere, from ground level to far above cruising altitude. But the most common turbulence experienced by flyers has three common causes: mountains, jet streams, and storms.
Turbulence in life and business also has its causes and sources. Times of turbulence are an opportunity for self-examination and revisiting the traditional deadly vices and how these may have causes the episode of turbulence that you are facing. There are eight traditional vices that the ancient fathers exhorted us to deal with and purge from our souls. These vices are:
- Gula (gluttony)
- Luxuria (lust)
- Avaritia (avarice/greed)
- Superbia (pride, hubris)
- Tristitia (sorrow/despair/despondency)
- Ira (wrath)
- Vanagloria (vainglory), and
- Acedia (sloth).
Draw all the elaborate theories and explanations that you may. Most turbulence will be generated by elements of these vices.
Turbulence is part of the happenings of the journey. While turbulence is risky, it is also an opportunity to propel forward. It is an opportunity to get fitter faster, prune what no longer serves you and strengthen your team, and sharpening your strategic focus.
The greatest value of turbulence is that it prompts you to ask questions that you would not ordinarily ask.
Stop crying, start thinking. Stop thinking with your emotions and check the principles. Stick to the knitting until the deal is done. Survey the opportunity canvas and reflecting on the message of turbulence. Identify the critical decisions that you have to make and take swift action. Turbulence abhors indecision, laziness and wishful thinking.
In turbulence you still have to take control and stay the course. You cannot wait for situations to decide themselves while you resign to the hand of fate.
Times of turbulence are not times for untried experiments and wishful recipes. Wait and see is not a strategy if you do not have a game plan.
Test your structures to see if they can weather the storm.
If they cannot, it is time to change, reduce complexity and simplify. Clarify roles and unblock processes. Whatever happens decide to make the most of any crisis and moment of turbulence. Moments of turbulent are too precious to waste.
Pass the Test
Turbulence is a test of character, competence and commitment. It tests your pedigree as a leader and you focus on greatness. One priest once remarked: “Many people want to go to heaven, but few want to die!” Many people want change without what it entails.
Many people want great and are not willing to ride through turbulence. There is no greatness at bargain prices.
Whatever happens, and it is a great wake up call. You never have the luxury of going to sleep during turbulence.
Wake up to strategic reality. Put on your thinking cap. Strategy is not a document, but a game plan.
If your strategy cannot survive an episode of turbulence — shred it!
Review the sensitivity of your organisation to the head-winds you are facing. Stay alert, reflect often and keep thinking. Respond to the current waves, but keep your strategic focus.
You have to see beyond the clouds of despair because above those heavy clouds the sun is shining.
The turbulence shall soon pass and you do not have the luxury to play without a strategy when it matters most. You have got to gave a game plan in order to win any game.
Choose where you will play to win, and how you will win. Be clear about your core, stimulate that core and be ready to play.
Do not box the wind because it has its own mind and it shall pass.
Turbulence is real and make no mistake it affects people seriously and differently. Nevertheless meeting turbulence does not always spell doom and gloom.
Someone once said we may all be in the hole but some of us are looking at the stars. It is not what happens that matters the most but the choices you make. The sky is not yet falling.
Turbulence comes and it is not your fault. It frustrates, that is your choice. Just fasten your seat-belt, keep hope alive and realise that jumping off now is not an option.
Keep sight of the big idea and goal. Retrace your pathway to your strategic trajectory. In every situation, options will always be there. Strategy is about evaluating your options and choosing where you will place your big bets and make your big moves.
The questions that you ask determine the actions that you will take. What load do you need to lighten? Excess baggage should never be carried to the future.
Whatever you carry up the mountain determines how the climb will go. Carrying unnecessary baggage increases your personal liability.
How will you refill the tank?
You cannot run on empty forever. You need to build new capacity to attack bigger opportunities and play at a different stage. You do not have the luxury to be left behind when the train pulls off the station.
No pilot trains to only fly in fair weather. No pilot dreams of flying without encountering turbulence sometimes. A life without challenges is impossible.
There are things you learn in turbulence that fair weather can never teach. Turbulence has its opportunities and benefits. Whatever happens, if you did your flight checks and you know what you are doing you confident that you will sail through the storm.
Tough times are not the times to give up, forget your instruments, throw tantrums, think like a victim and lose your mind. Turbulent times are terrible times to stop trying and turn into a victim.
The time of turbulence is time to overtake the timid and to pass the slow with caution. Extend the lead and think deep into the future.
Play to win not just to play. You train to play in whatever weather condition you face and not just fair weather. Keep doing what you know best and soon the turbulence will clear.
Committed to your greatness.
Milton Kamwendo is a leading international transformational and motivational speaker, author, and a virtual, hybrid and in-person workshop facilitator. He is a cutting-edge strategy, team-building and organisation development facilitator and consultant. His life purpose is to inspire and promote greatness. He can be reached at: [email protected] and His website is: www.miltonkamwendo.com.