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.