How many times have you flown on a commercial aircraft, and midflight the captain announces there is turbulence ahead and asks you to return to your seat and put on your seat belt? You hear the familiar chime as the seat belt sign illuminates above your head. You strap in and pull that seat belt just a bit tighter. And then you wait.

Soon the turbulence begins. The plane begins to shake (and maybe you do too). The flight attendants lurch in the aisle. Your drink sloshes on the tray table. You might even get a bit of a queasy feeling in your stomach. As the turbulence grows stronger and your grip tightens on the armrests you think, “When will we get through this?”

For a passenger or even a pilot in training, turbulence can be unnerving. But have you noticed that when you are expecting it, it does not seem as unsettling? That is why the captain announces it—so that you will be prepared.

Aviators know that turbulence is nothing more than rough air. We understand why it happens and where it is coming from. We know we can simply climb or descend or fly around it until we find smooth air.

We don’t have to stay in the turbulence. This is a great life lesson.

Turbulence happens in life as well. We all experience it—perhaps not in the same form, but we all hit rough patches. Whenever we leave the ground and “take it into the air,” we are going to experience challenges, obstacles, and difficulties. If you want to soar, you are going to go through some “turbulence.” It might come in the form of criticism of you or your dreams, harassment, microaggressions, resistance, etc. It is not a question of if it will happen; it is merely a question of when.

So, what do you do when you find yourself in a bit of turbulence?

Buckle up. Strap in. Prepare yourself. Know that you can work your way around or through any obstacle that arises. The more experience you get, the more comfortable you will become with the turbulence of life. You will learn to relax and move forward with confidence, knowing you are just going through a rough patch and that smooth air awaits you on the other side.

As difficult as the Naval Academy had been for me, I was prepared for more challenges ahead. But as I graduated and headed to flight school, I knew I was taking a multitude of hard-earned skills with me, and I was ready to navigate the coming turbulence.

Are you ready to navigate turbulence? How have you prepared yourself? Drop me a line or add to this post and let’s keep the conversation going.

As always, Fly high,


Want to know more about navigating turbulence? Check out my book: Flight Lessons: Navigating Through Life’s Turbulence and Learning to Fly High.

#Leadership, #mentor, #mentorship, #navigatingturbulence

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

Strap in
Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash