Take Off

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

I hate the “take-off” portion of flying. Since I am typically on an airplane once a month or more, you would think this is an issue that would have subsided by now, but alas.

For me, it’s a few things: It’s the shift from sitting completely still to getting the clearance for take off and beginning the awkward, lumbering acceleration down the runway. It’s the deafening noise and the rattling of the entire plane. It’s the feeling, when we first become airborne, of the wings lilting this way and that, as if the plane is trying to find balance in the air. It’s how the heaviness of the plane itself seems to always be on the verge of sending us straight back to the ground—scoffing at the notion that such a beast could fly. I find my body literally clenching from the tension of these early moments… especially when, as in my travels last week, I am flying in snowy, blustery conditions that cause the airplane to dramatically swoop and jerk with the wind.

But then we always reach that magical cruising altitude. That sweet spot in the sky, where the plane does indeed find its balance. Where the noise softens, the plane steadies, and the pilot tells us to go about with our iPods or laptops or kindles. Am I the only one that breathes a silent breath of relief and gratitude in that moment?

I was thinking how this is also the way it goes with new projects or ideas, or really anything new. Starting is the hardest part. Starting can feel horrible. It can be messy and awkward and lumbering and scary. And in the early stages it can be easy to believe that whatever it is we’re trying to achieve is impossible— that there is no way it will take off. And then, even when it does take off, initially, it can suffer some turbulence along the way… it can lilt awhile as it tries to find balance—whether that be in the form of support or funding or acceptance or excitement. But if we just hang in there, the magical cruising altitude is usually there somewhere. If we hang in there, we eventually realize that indeed, we can fly.

So, in the end we just need to trust the take-off. Trust that despite the noise and the rattle and the labor that the plane will take off. Trust that we will achieve flight and not worry when it feels like it’s hard getting there. And when we see those around us struggling with the take-off of something new, we can remind them too.

What can you “take-off” today?   

Interested in having Erika’s blog come directly to your e-mail each Tuesday? Have comments to share?  E-mail her at erika@tlpnyc.com.


Interested in having Erika’s blog come directly to your e-mail each Tuesday? Have comments to share?  E-mail her at erika@tlpnyc.com.   Find all her previous blog posts at www.tlpnyc.com/author/erika



Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.