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  • Writer's pictureBurk Moreland

Grow your wings on the way down

One evening, my Lyft driver showed up at the airport in a Red Kia Soul. If you have ever met me, you know that fitting all 6’6” of me into the back seat of a smaller vehicle is a bit of a challenge, so, out of necessity, I got in the front seat. And, as it happened, riding in the front seat of that little car was a lucky turn of events.

Not only did I end up having a great conversation with my driver, but I also made some important discoveries. The great conversation was quite a surprise because, typically, when I return, like I was that night, from a week of travel and coaching, the last thing I want to do is talk—especially to a stranger.

This particular night, however, was different. My driver was a young woman in her early twenties, and she told me she had just moved from another state to this area with her two-year old son. She went on to say that moving around was very familiar to her since she had been raised as a “military brat” and had moved around most of her life.

Within a few minutes of talking to her I could tell she had seen a lot and been through a lot in her relatively short adulthood. On her own since she was 17, she told me she was driving 14 hours per day to try to support her son and herself.

When I questioned her about why she drove that many hours, her response was telling: “Because the company won’t let me drive any more than that. They cut me off and say I need to rest for at least 6 hours.”

I was asking why she drove so much. She seemed to be wondering why she couldn’t drive more… Fascinating… I couldn’t resist, so I pursued my line of questioning and qualified it further. “What motivates you to drive so many hours?” I asked. Her response was simple and clear, “I will do whatever I have to in order to take care of my son. No one else is going to do it for me.”

What a mindset…

In a world filled with people asking for things to be taken care of for them, here was a young woman who was doing anything she could to make a life for her and her son. We talked for the entire hour drive, and it quickly turned into an interview.

Not only was her survival instinct extremely strong, but her moral compass was pointed in the right direction as well. She had never been in any legal trouble or pushed the envelope on “fast money” activities as some people do when they are desperate for a way to support a family.

Instead, she had worked as hard and as honestly as she could, and she continued to look for ways to better herself and her family. In an “ah-ha” moment, I suggested that it would be truly amazing if we could take the survival mindset that was keeping her and her son fed and clothed, and channel it into a success mindset. I said that instead of her looking for more hours to work, maybe we should consider redirecting all that energy and willingness to do “whatever it takes” towards something more long-term (and more financially efficient)—in other words, maybe we could find her a real career opportunity, something that would pay enough so that she wouldn’t have to work 14 hour days.

She lit up when I said that, and, since that night, I have been working on getting her interviews with some of my clients. I think her future is very bright.

In our businesses, I see the survival mindset all the time. We make too many decisions based on fears, and, too often, we overreact rather than thinking things through. Instead of holding ourselves, our teams, and our companies back because we are focused on survival, why aren’t we pushing everyone forward looking for success?

Of course, when you run a business, balance is critical to success, but finding that perfect balance between too much and not enough can be challenging. We can’t push so hard that our businesses are at risk of failure, but we can’t be so careful that we hinder growth. Paul Martinelli had a great visual for the concept of success thinking a few years back.

Mr. Martinelli says, “Grow your wings on the way down…”

That is ultimate success thinking. The truth is that most of us don’t have the luxury of safety nets. This means that those of us who want to be successful are at times going to have to take that proverbial “leap of faith” and hope we grow the wings we’ll need to keep us from falling. Like my Lyft driver, it may be that if you just jump, you will be amazed at what you will be able to make happen. After all, once you jump, you no longer have a choice!

However, if you aren’t ready to jump just yet, I encourage you to at least take a peek over the edge and start learning about growing wings. Maybe you can even find someone to help you make the actual jump when you are ready!

Just don’t let the fear of failure keep you from your potential. Sometimes you will fail. Sometimes things won’t work out like you want, but if you keep trying, someday they will. In fact, if you read the histories of many very successful people, many of them didn’t hit it the first time. In fact, for most of them, it took several tries before they reached their goals.

It is not the getting knocked down that is hardest, it is holding onto the mindset that tells you to keep getting back up—even when success seems completely out of reach. Trust me, it only seems out of reach. You can get there, but only if you keep trying.

What are you willing to do to be successful?

For help on this challenge or any others you and your business have, connect with us today at 832-356-4585 or Until next time, go be the Rainmaker for your team.

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