For most of the last six months, I've been participating in efforts that I'm not typically used to being a part of. Developing an executive management-mandated and required training project for flight attendants. It's much larger than simply that. It is an effort to train all nearly 10,000 employees of the airline that I work for. Each employee participates in a four-hour morning "All Company" session....all employees will go through this session. And the afternoon brings four-hours about smaller, individual department sessions....which is the flight attendant session I've helped develop. It rolled out in the month of October after five months of work. We started with probably close to 100 ideas, thoughts, considerations. And ended up in close to, oh maybe, eight or so modules or sections. It is high powered, energetic, and meant to prod and poke at not only one's flight attendant job and the company we work for -- but also the insides. The person. The human being. My claim to fame all summer long during the development phase is that "I want to poke buttons in each person. I want them to respond in a positive way. I want them to leave feeling great about their lives and have something to work toward in their futures." I don't mind asking more of each person than they are typically used to giving. I want more. That's the kind of guy I am.
The session has been receiving rave reviews from a wide variety of people. And that makes me happy. Words like "Uplifting, life changing, and inspiring" are often on the critique forms. And that's what I wanted to be a part of. I refused to do the normal, the company, the corporate, the average, the expected.
But you see, whenever you put yourself out there, push ahead, think in these sorts of ways, it always seems to come back to you. To me. At some point I knew the tables would be turned on me. Toward me. Focused on me. My own life, my own personal challenges and where I'm at today. At some point I knew that my own life would be would be held accountable and see if it runs parallel to the program I've helped produce. Or if I'm off track. And who better to bring those sorts of thoughts to light than one's partner, best friend, lover, husband. Right? I mean, he knows me. He gets me. He's had 14 years to know my ups and downs, my likes and dislikes, and....yes....my shortcomings and parts of my life that fall short.
He asked me a while back how it felt to participate in such a wide-scale program, developing such introspective and personal pieces for others to consider. And he asked me if I'd actually considered any of the particulars in my own life. Had I held myself accountable for this or that. How it felt to ask others to do something when, perhaps, I hadn't done it in my own life, for myself. Good lord. Is that what significant others are supposed to do? Yes, I supposed at some point they are. I don't begrudge him the question. I appreciate him asking me. That's what he's supposed to do.
I told him this after careful consideration and thought. I told him that I was afraid of something. I told him that despite my hard, crusty -- sometimes arrogant and prideful -- exterior, I knew that I must keep these sorts of thoughts and projects in my life. I needed them. I needed them to remind me of my humanity, my shortcomings and failings. I needed to keep on considering them, developing them, reminding others of things. And that in reminding others of ways to improve their own life, that I then remind myself to do the same. I told him that I was afraid I would become an old curmudgeon if I don't do this. If I fail to keep on thinking positive that I'd end up in a place I don't want to be as I age. I told him that I needed to keep positive thoughts and energy right in my face via projects, people, and attitude or else I'd end up like "them." Those who are near us who we don't want to be like. It's my reminder. My center point. My plumb line. What's yours?