What Has Your Family Got In Common With An Airplane?

By Daniel Schmitz, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International

As you may have experienced, life doesn't always go to plan and it can be easy to get lost in the day to day struggles.

This happens in our personal lives, our careers and our families and it's easy to get disheartened when we are off track. So...how do we deal with this?

In the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families” author Stephen R. Covey shares a powerful analogy comparing family life to the journey of an airplane from take off to its ultimate destination. Did you know that an airplane is actually off course 90% of the time?

You Are Going To Be “Off Track” 90% of The Time...So What?

“Good families - even great families - are off track 90% off the time! The key is that they have a sense of destination. They know what the “track” looks like. And they keep coming back to it time and time again.

It’s like the flight of an airplane. Before the plane takes off, the pilots have a flight plan. They know exactly where they’re going and start off in accordance with their plan. But during the course of the flight, wind, rain, turbulences, air traffic, human error, and other factors act upon that plane. They move it slightly in different directions so that most of the time that plane is not even on the prescribed flight path! Throughout the entire trip there are slight deviations from the flight plan. Weather systems or unusually heavy air traffic may even cause major deviations. But barring anything too major, the plane will arrive at its destination.

Now how does that happen? During the flight, the pilots receive constant feedback. They receive information from instruments which read the environment, from control towers, from other airplanes - even sometimes from the stars. And based on that feedback, they make adjustments so that time and time again they keep returning to the flight plan.

The hope lies not in the deviations but in the vision, the plan, and the ability to get back on track.

The flight of that airplane is, I believe, the ideal metaphor for family life. With regard to our families, it doesn’t make any difference if we are off target or even if our family is a mess. The hope lies in the vision and in the plan and in the courage to keep coming back time and time again.”

Legends know the importance of developing a clear vision of what they want to achieve and they find ways to make it happen. They are also aware though, that the path is not always straight forward and that it needs to be continually readjusted. They know they will make mistakes. What matters is how quickly we get back on track.

To learn more about ways to improve your family life and relationships, check out this article about the whole Will Smith family being interviewed by Oprah.

How To Apply This!

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