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I know a guy who recently decided to learn how to fly. Well not fly so much as glide on the wind; or hang glide. Now, he’s not a spring chicken, but you can teach an old(er) dog new tricks!

Watching him flutter down the ‘bunny’ hills at first reminded me a seeing the fledgling robins take their first tentative flight from the nest their parents would inevitably make in one of the hanging baskets at a greenhouse I once worked at. Since we knew these baby birds from eggs it felt like a real rite of passage the day they left the nest. Wing flying, as you know, is not an easy endeavor to coordinate. Good ol’ Leonardo DaVinci himself toiled with designs for flying contraptions in his spare time and couldn’t solve the physics of it – and he was a genius!

Well hang gliding isn’t so easy either. The glider acts like a kite, and if you’ve ever flown one of those and had a hard time under certain conditions then you can start to imagine what it’s like trying to fly a much bigger version of one from underneath the thing! Like the GI Joe dude you may have tied to your kite years ago. Though between flying with wings and gliding with them, gliding is by far easier. The hang glider really can’t not fly when the conditions are right.

The trick is to keep the conditions right! You do that by coordinating direction, speed and altitude – all with increasing importance the closer you get to objects (mountains, power lines, trees) or the ground. The finesse required is the same for birds and people. This activity is thick with meaningful metaphors; from appreciating the courage of tiny baby birds to likewise appreciating the available lift of the unseen, the presence and support of the invisible when you hold the right attitude — and I could go on, but you get the idea.

The simple truth here is when you have (or give yourself) wings — you can soar!

It may not look graceful at first but with experience you learn to negotiate the invisible and float harmlessly, joyfully on its updrafts and downdrafts by making simple adjustments to your relationship with these unseen forces. From this point of view both up and down are neither good nor bad but simply moments within a longer flight.

To soar you have to:

  • Endure failure
  • Persevere in the face of it
  • Believe in yourself
  • Maintain the proper attitude (relationship of your wings or support to air currents or flow)
  • Make necessary adjustments to maintain flight
  • Avoid crash landings!

Unlike birds, hang gliders can experience the delights of flight in a tandem set up with an experienced pilot well before they’re ready for solo flying. These paired experiences help them learn and practice high altitude (2000′ +) techniques with minimal risk. Indeed any one of us who have ever ridden in an airplane has experienced such flight to one degree or another depending on the size of the plane and the conditions of the flight.


How will you fly?

1. Write a list of Big Dream Accomplishments you’d like to tackle. Your own ‘bucket list’ (from the movie of the same name). Things you want to be, do or accomplish before you die.

2. Pick one.

3. Break it into manageable components. List what you have to do, learn and experience to make this happen. Be sure to include ways to cope with:

  • failure
  • frustration
  • exasperation

4. And be sure to include ways to measure success!

Accomplishment may be its own reward…
but sticking with something to reach an accomplishment can be difficult to maintain.

Plan token rewards for yourself to acknowledge your successes along the way. For example after 5 or 10 repeated tries give yourself a “Good Job” gift, make it something you’ll need when you’ve reached a higher level in your pursuit of this goal, some little piece of equipment, a training manual or book, a membership — whatever; just something that supports your process and anticipates your continued success!

As you proceed on your path with this goal you’ll carry on with your pushing through the tougher times with the learning or achievement process by taking a moment to recognize your building achievements. Even when those achievements are maybe stalled at being continued tries.

By the time you’ve accomplished an apex moment you’ll probably have amassed enough of the things or equipment necessary to support your Quest to even higher goals!

A Word To The Wise

Always get yourself the very best quality version of whatever it is you need — even if you have to get a pre-owned version. You are worth it! Your goals are worth it! And these are prizes you’re awarding yourself, high quality speaks volumes to your subconscious.

Creative Consideration

  1. In your journal or blog keep track of your progress in achieving a goal.
  2. As you level up in your own game here photograph or take short videos of your progress and/or pivotal moments as you can.
  3. Post those on Facebook or tweet them or otherwise publicly put it out there what you’re doing. You’ll:
    •  Inspire others with your progress and
    •  You’ll inspire yourself to keep going!