In a recent conversation, a colleague and I were discussing how unbelievable it is that we haven’t been on an airplane since February. In 30 years of business, I can’t recall a six-month period that I went without flying. There is much about traveling that I don’t miss, but one component that I always enjoyed was that feeling of the calm (after the chaos that comes from everything before the flight) so I could look down, see the world, and the perception of my problems at 30,000 feet.  That perspective always gave me hope.  

Let me ask you… does this following pre-flight journey sound familiar? 

  • pack your bag
  • drive to the airport
  • park your car
  • get through security
  • rush to your gate (for some of us)
  • grab something to eat or drink
  • stand in line to board
  • squeeze your way through the aisle
  • wrestle with your bag in the overhead compartment
  • squeeze past the person next to you
  • slide your bag under the seat in front of you
  • turn on the air vent
  • get out your headphones
  • listen to the announcements
  • wipe the sweat from your brow

As my stress cycle goes into overdrive, I finally get a moment to look around and settle in. The boarding door closes, I take a deep breath and maybe even close my eyes for a couple of minutes. 

Then it happens, the plane departs, and the magical bell rings. Suddenly, I’m mentally and physically transported to a different experience. As the aircraft climbs past 10,000 feet, I am now momentarily freed from that chaos, and an odd calm comes over me. I look out the window as the world gets farther and farther away and a sense of peace and hope comes over me. Has anyone else ever felt this feeling? 

My mind clears and the worries I felt just moments ago suddenly start to dissipate or at least momentarily seem a bit easier to solve. I love the feeling of being above the clouds with the sun coming through the window, and I can finally sip my little cup coffee with my single sugar packet. I’ve even convinced myself that the coffee tastes better than Starbucks or Dunkin. 

At 30,000 feet, I’ve read great books, written blogs, relaxed to music, watched movies, thought about friends and families, solved business problems, planned worship services, blocked theater productions, and so much more. I love the brain clarity and hope that comes from being at 30,000 feet!

Here is my question for you – where do you find hope? For the past 30 days, this word HOPE has been all around me, and I felt compelled to write about it and direct you to some great resources. For our Podcast people, I highly encourage you to check out the Driving Change Podcast hosted by Jeff Bloomfield and listen to the following. 

If you’re a reader, I want to direct your attention to two books that I have recently read and re-read.  

If I told you that your health and life could improve by listening and reading these resources, would you do it? Here is the good news… it can. You will hear from Dr. Rigsby about the power of hope, even in the darkest of times. You will hear from Linda about how leadership and hope come from stepping into places that others won’t and choosing to lead through vision, love, purpose, and hope. 

If you’re more interested in learning about the long-term health benefits of hope, read about the power of the “Renewal Cycle” in Resonant Leadership. Do you know that resonance & renewal involve mindfulness, hope, and compassion, which spark positive emotions & healthy relationships? In the book, renewal is described as a dynamic process that restores us and counters the destructive effects of power stress. 

If power stress isn’t bad enough, you will read in the Longevity Plan that hope and a strong sense of purpose can help prevent adverse health outcomes such as plaque build-up, blood clots, and high blood pressure. The authors write about how a focus on the future is an essential part of having a purpose. 

In these times of constant pressure and stress, I’m encouraging you to take action today. Find the place where you can have your “30,000 feet clarity moment” and remove yourself from the cycle of stress. There is scientific and practical power in words like HOPE. Everyone needs hope now more than ever, but sustainable change starts with you.