Since I was four years old I’ve wanted to be a pilot. I still remember my first “solo flight” when I visited grandparents… and the Captain gave me my first set of wings. Of course, you can’t fly alone as easily as I did back then, but it was too late anyway… the flight bug bit me.
Several years ago I met a special lady in an elevator… I had no idea who she was, just that she was carrying one of the coolest Snoopy bags I’d ever seen. I complimented her on it… and when we walked into the room of the event I was attending everyone stood up and applauded. I tried to hide my embarrassment that I had no idea who she was… and I’m pretty sure she thought it was cute in that I didn’t bother to try to be anyone except myself around her, even after the room cheered and I discovered it was Jeannie Schulz the widow of “Sparky”, Charles Schulz.
To be honest, I mostly ignored her speech about Peanuts and all things Sparky. It was when she talked about being a pilot that my ears perked up. After the event I waited for the swarms of people begging for books to be signed to die down before I approached her. I told her how I’d always wanted to be a pilot, and started to grill her with questions. She lit up like a siren on the car of an over-anxious police officer finally getting to chase someone after a long day of sitting on the side of the road watching passers-by. It was then I realized, everyone had asked about Sparky. Everything was about him, and Peanuts. And all I cared about was this woman who flew… and who I later found out also took trapeze lessons.
We stayed in touch over the years and every quarter she sends me her copy of the women’s pilot club magazine, Ninety-Nines once she’s read it. I’ve read some, skimmed most, and kept all of them (along with all her fun, hand-written personal notes) After a year or so I got the chance to take a Diamond DA20-C1 up for a spin. Not realizing it until later, I actually did the take-off solo… and the instructor beside me said I was “a natural” as we practically buzzed the Sears Tower (with permission) and flew over Navy Pier in Chicago.
That was it, if I wasn’t bit so bad before, now my skin crawled with flight bugs. I just had. To. Learn. How. To. Fly. I began researching flight schools, and at the time my business was just starting to take off… and it was never enough. So I put the dream off for a while… always there in the back of my mind.
Fast-forward about five years and my business became ultra successful, I married the ultimate man of my dreams, we started several more businesses together… and within the past year I fell into a big mindset trap. I started to tell myself, “either or”. Either I could hire another employee or I could set aside money for flight lessons. Either I could pay the contractors to build the addition on our house or I could save for flying lessons. Either I could buy inventory for our new toy store or I could start taking flight lessons.
It got to the point that I started pushing fear of flying on myself in order to talk myself out of my dream. I got nervous when I flew commercially across the country. The tiniest bit of turbulence would result in my heart racing and me grasping for my husband’s hand (if he was there) even though I knew the science behind turbulence. And I started to tell myself, “There’s no way you’ll ever learn to fly, it’s too scary.”
This morning the “ah-ha” hit me like a ton of bricks. I was afraid to fly, afraid to take lessons, thought it was too complicated or too hard, all because I wanted an “out” from my dream. I wanted a good excuse so when my friend Jeannie asked me why I haven’t started lessons yet, I’d have a good reason. A really good reason rooted in fear… and cloaked in the guise of survival.
And the “either or” mindset led to look at every bill, every exchange and every new business decision (especially any that cost money) as costing me… my DREAM.
This morning for the first time in over a year I asked myself, “So why can’t I have BOTH? Why is this an ‘either or’ scenario? What’s so bad about achieving ALL my dreams, no matter what those dreams are?” And this afternoon I unexpectedly got the next edition of Ninety-Nines in the mail, along with an update letter from Jeannie accompanied by her signature hand-written note, and I broke down in tears. Talk about perfect timing. Here was this woman I considered a friend, and I didn’t even know she had recently lost the house she and Sparky shared since 1980 in the Sonoma County fires. This woman who still looked at the bright side of everything, the side of “I not only CAN have it all, I DO have it all.” This woman who believed in my dream enough to keep sending me this magazine when I haven’t written her in almost a year… after her home burned to the ground.
Inspired by her, I logged onto Google and started searching for the closest flight schools. I found one that looked promising, and discovered the investment through them was half what I expected to pay for my license. And they had a flexible option for busy business owners to get this… achieve their dreams of flight. I don’t know how it will happen or even where the money will come from when there are so many other things going on right now demanding a piece of my bank account… but what I do know is, however it happens, it WILL happen. The dream has re-awakened.
If you have a dream you’ve let die, or one you’ve shoved under a rug in a hole in the floor somewhere hoping to forget, pull it out, dust it off, and ask yourself, “What is my first step?” Maybe it’s doing a simple Google search. Maybe it’s hiring a business consultant like me to help you get started. Maybe it’s grabbing that domain name for a related product idea. Whatever it is, take action and do it.
Tell me in the comments what your dream is.
Hilary Melton-ButcherFebruary 28, 2018
Hi Kristen – excellent to read … go for it. What a great story about Jeannie Schultz … and as you say – go do, get on with life … just enjoy the new passion – cheers Hilary
Ellen LFebruary 28, 2018
This is SO COOL! I had no idea you loved to fly! My older brother Ted has been going to school the past year and a half for his commercial rotor-craft certification and instructor’s certification. He was already a fixed-wing pilot, and he’s getting his fixed-wing commercial and instructor’s certification there too, but flying helos was always a dream of his! (He wants me to learn how to pilot, too – I’ve taken the controls of his 182 when he’s taken me flying, and I don’t quite have the knack of level flight – I yo-yo a bit. But like I ask him, how can I fly the aircraft AND hang out the window taking pictures at the same time? (Giggle.))
Kristen JoyFebruary 28, 2018 Ellen L
LOL! I’m trying to get Tony to agree to fly places with me by bribing him with aerial photography… so far he’s responded talking about his drones… to which I say, “Only 400 feet, Darlin’…” LOL!!
DOnnaFebruary 27, 2018
What? No comments here? Well, I’m honored to be the first, LOL! Did you know that I once trained for a pilot’s license as well? Yep, not long after I was out of high school. Went to a little airport in El Cajon, CA and sat through all of the classroom studies and even passed the exams. But, like you, when it came time for the actual flying part, my fear of planes and height took over, and I quit. Something I really regretted doing, later.
Now? After several attempts at various things and finding that they’re not really what I wanted after all, I’ve decided to stop trying to do what everyone else is doing and just be me and do what makes me happy. Whether I end up making money with it or not, I’m just going to enjoy myself with my crafting, photography, and writing. Period. No more chasing after the next big thing.
Kristen JoyFebruary 28, 2018 DOnna
That’s both cool and awesome to hear Donna! Thank you for admitting your regret for not following your initial dream of flight… and your resolve to do what you LOVE!
HarrietFebruary 27, 2018
Wow!! Love this. You can do this! My children’s piano teacher was in her early 60s when we first met. She took flying lessons when she could pay for them. I don’t know if she ever got her pilot’s license, but she was very close. It was probably cheaper for her to take flying lessons than to buy a plane. LOL
Thanks for inspiring us today!!
DeAnna TroupeFebruary 27, 2018
OMG! Kristen, you really need to get out of my brain. Like seriously. It has always been my dream to start a different kind of business school. One specifically serving people in underserved communities. One that serves women and people of color. Recently I found out about a program called ifundwomen in my Facebook feed and I signed up and my idea for the project got approved. Now, I’m terrified that this thing might actually take off. Reading you talking about not giving up is exactly what I needed to hear right now. And I’m super stoked to know that I’m one degree away from Jeannie Schulz. I love all things Snoopy. I even have Woodstock sitting on my desk right now…Anyway, this comment is about to turn into a novel. Keep being Kristen, okay?
Kristen JoyFebruary 27, 2018 DeAnna Troupe
Thank you for your thoughts Deanna! I’m super excited your project got approved!! That’s awesome! Hugs to you. 🙂