Consider Your Approach

Final for runway 36 at KESCImage by sstrubel via Flickr

My parents are both licensed pilots. A decent-sized chunk of my memory bank is full of aerial views of the mountains and valleys of western Colorado.

I was never a comfortable, relaxed flier. The emergency beacon that sat beside me in the back seat of the plane served as a constant reminder for my vivid imagination of all the possible reasons we might need an emergency beacon.

I did, however, enjoy takeoff and landing. Especially landing. (This could have had something to do with my constant state of heightened anxiety while in the air.)

You’ve probably heard pilots say “on approach” or “final approach” over the radio. How they approach the runway is crucial to the success of the landing – speed, direction, awareness of wind conditions and visibility, position, altitude, when to drop the landing gear, and so forth.

Every interaction, every encounter, every situation is a kind of landing. Based on our distinct personalities and the combined effect of our past experiences, we form approach habits, and those habits shape our lives.

For example, if someone says, “Hey, Niki, I need to talk to you,” I immediately assume I’m in trouble, especially if that someone is in a position of authority. I go into those conversations (landings) on the defensive. My husband, on the other hand, assumes he’s about to get a promotion, or he’s won a million bucks. His approach is positive. As a result, he comes out of those “landings” with less stress than I do, even when the conversation isn’t a pleasant one.

We all have certain ways we approach others, whether it’s to address a concern, ask for a favor, or make a complaint. Over the years we develop particular approaches to situations (family gatherings, church services, holidays, politics, etc.). Does every conversation with “that” person, or about “that” subject, turn into a tumbling fireball of horror? Maybe it’s time to check your approach. Are you coming in too fast? Too slow? Ignoring external conditions (like the fact your spouse just put in a 10-hour day and is tired and hungry) when you bring up some subject that needs to be addressed? Even animals are smart enough to gauge the temperament of another animal before they approach!

Your approach to a thing may mean the difference between success and failure, peace or strife, joy or dread. If you’ve got a string of bad landings behind you, try a new way of approaching the matter at hand. You might be surprised how smooth those landings can be.


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5 thoughts on “Consider Your Approach

  1. patti says:

    Niki, you bottle up the essence of things with the most effective analogies!

    This is DEFINITELY an area of communication where I MUST rely on the Holy Spirit…or I crash land!!!!

    Blessings, dear one.

  2. Niki Turner says:

    Thank you, Patti. I'm with on needing to rely on the Navigator. I've done enough belly landings to realize they tend to leave a mark!
    Grace and peace in all you set your hand to today!

  3. Anita Mae Draper says:

    Oh, excellent post, Niki.

    You said, 'I immediately assume I'm in trouble, especially if that someone is in a position of authority.
    Me too! Although I don't understand why because I was such a perfect child. (Shines nails on her shirt.)


    The funny thing is, when faced with a detour, I'm excited because I get to go on a new adventure!

    Anita Mae.

  4. Niki Turner says:

    LOL. Anita, I was a perfect child, too… *ahem*! Our pastor once hollered my FULL name – first, middle, last – across the sanctuary after church to get my attention and I nearly passed out.

    So when you take a road trip, are you always tempted to return home via a different route? Just because you can, and it's more exciting that way?

  5. Anita Mae Draper says:

    So when you take a road trip, are you always tempted to return home via a different route? Just because you can, and it's more exciting that way?

    Well, yeah. And what do you mean by tempted? I do if time allows.

    For instance, when I head east to Ontario, I'll take the TransCanada Hwy straight across, but on the return trip, I'll dip down into Minnesota and head west through North Dakota and then back up into Saskatchewan.

    When I went down to Denver last Sept, I went 200 miles out of my way on the way back to ensure I saw as much as I possibly could.

    Other than time, the thing that'll stop me is gravel roads because there's so much wear and tear on the vehicle and tires.

    Anita Mae.

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