I have written about this before and am cycling back to the topic once again. In flight training, before we even climbed into our aircraft, we put on our flight gear. Navy jet flight gear includes among other things a flight suit, steel-toed flight boots, a “G suit”, helmet, oxygen mask, and integrated torso harness that straps us into our aircraft, into our ejection seat, and into our parachute.

While our “flight gear” is critically important, those who maintain our “gear” are indispensable. Para riggers (PR’s) or the sailors who keep our personal gear inspected, maintained and “ready for flight” are the first who come to mind for me. Aviators develop a personal connection with our PRs as they maintain our personal safety gear and literally “pack our parachutes”. If all goes wrong, we can eject from our aircraft and trust in a safe landing.

Of course, there are many others who keep us flying – engine mechanics, avionics technicians, airframes specialists and then the ground crews who help us start our aircraft ensuring that all looks good for launch.

As leaders we may not always be aware of it, but there is lots of “gear” we use in our professional lives—the equipment, tools and support crews that help us to perform at our best.

My question is who constitutes your support crew? Who keeps you “ready for flight?”

Maybe your crew includes your spouse or partner, your family, perhaps your community, or your church. Maybe it is the teen at the front desk at the YMCA who always offers you a towel?

There are so many people who keep us flying. Some we notice and some, well ahem… we forget to notice. I know that Valentine’s Day is the day we show our affection to that special someone in our lives. No doubt we can argue that it has become too commercial. That’s not my point.

What if we took a moment or two on this Valentine’s Day to offer gratitude to those who keep us flying? You don’t have to give a Valentine to the receptionist at the front desk, but maybe an extra big smile of appreciation or a quick thank you. Don’t forget the checkout person at the grocery store or the cleaning person who keeps your office and lobby sparkling or your local police and fire department. Gratitude for those who support us goes a long way and not just on Valentine’s Day.

Fly High,


Want to know more? Need help cultivating your support system? Check out my other blog posts at captainbarbarabell.com and check out my book, Flight Lessons: Navigating Through Life’s Turbulence and Learning to Fly High.

#gratitude, #veterans, #coaching, #mentoring, #leadership

Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash