Thursday, July 11, 2013

Are you ready for take-off?

I was sitting on an Airbus A320 – weighing about 75 tonnes (the plane, not me!), with about 150 passengers, accelerating rapidly on a runway around 2.5 km long. We hit 275 km/h, the wing flaps tilted and up we went. Impressive and, actually, pretty amazing.

I've been lucky enough to sit on dozens of flights like this in the last few years but on this particular flight, a powerful insight jumped into my mind as we climbed skyward and left Dublin waking up below us. I want to share that insight with you in this post, because I believe it will make you think differently about the way you work towards your goals.

One word flashed into my brain: MOMENTUM. I realised that this one word has so much to do with success in life and business. Let me explain...

When it comes to airplanes, design, materials, size, fuel, thrust, etc, are all important, but unless the plane reaches - and maintains - the required speed for take-off, it's all useless.
The scientific definition of momentum is “Mass in motion” and is calculated by multiplying an object's mass by its velocity. Fascinating! But for the non-boffins (like me!) out there, I define momentum as:
"Sustained movement in one direction that is hard to stop". 
Ah, that's better!

With momentum, planes can take off. Hammers can drive nails. Fists can break through wooden boards. You can push through barriers and limiting self-beliefs to reach success.

How do you build momentum?
Well, for a start, get started! Be clear on your destination and take the first step towards it. Henry Ford said 'You can't build a reputation on what you're GOING to do', so you need to take action to build your confidence and make meaningful progress on your journey (if you haven't read them already, look back at my goal-setting posts and email me for my awesome, and free, worksheet. Click the numbers to view parts 123456 & 7).

After this, it's about perseverance, going further and further, getting faster and faster, better and better, letting success build on success until you get to take-off speed. Remember my definition? Sustained movement in the same direction is key. That takes discipline, so remember what David Campbell says; "Discipline is remembering what you want". I love this, because it's a lot less scary than most people's vision of self-discipline.

So, if you've got the momentum, and you get the timing right, then, like the airflow over the wings, it only takes the tiniest change to send you soaring.

And just to keep the plane analogy in the air a little longer: there may be other planes that are faster than you, or lighter, or have better engines - some can take off on a shorter runway or carry more passengers, but the exact same science applies: they ALL need momentum to take off.

You don't need to be the same as other people to reach your goals. You don't even need to better than them - you just need to be fast ENOUGH to be able to take off when the right time comes. In a competitive business environment, the successful ones are often the ones that out-momentum the others.

So, how will you know the right moment for take-off?
The truth is, you don't need me to tell you, and I couldn't, even if I wanted to.

You'll know. Trust yourself. It's YOUR success story - you're the pilot. Pick your direction, get started, work hard, get up to speed and keep going - but most of all, remember to enjoy the trip as well as the destination!