Be stubborn on the long-term vision, but flexible on the details.

Jeff Bezos

My husband is a pilot.  We are part owners in a small plane (C-FURI). 

Recently we took a four-day trip with the plane.  It was our first overnighter with C-FURI.  My husband wanted the trip to go well.  He wants to make this type of trip something we do regularly.  He wanted this trip to show me that it could be fun and exciting. 

I am a planner.  I love plans.  I love making plans, and I love following plans. 

My husband, for the most part, is not a planner. 

He took care of everything for this trip.  He planned what airports and where we would stay. 

That is about the extent of his planning.  When we arrived in Ottawa, he had no plan other than to eat and walk around.  When we got to Brockville, there was nothing other than we are staying at a B&B. 

If this had happened early in our relationship, it would have been a disaster, an all-out war.  The stress of no plan would have been too much.  Thankfully, after 26 years of growth and self-discovery, my husband and I have learned how to dance together. 

So with his rough draft, I fill in the details. 

I’ve learned to fill in those details as we go. 

However, I am a planner.  Once the plan is made, I want it to go as planned. 

This brings me to Brockville, Ontario.  We had flown Rockcliff, Ontario, to Brockville, Ontario.  The hosts of the 1000 Island B&B picked us up from the airport and provided me with maps and ideas to spend our time in the small town.  

By the time we had finished our lunch, I had a plan of the afternoon, evening, and next day all mapped out.  The next day the local market was open, and they were shutting down the main street for outdoor shopping.  I was super excited for the festivities the next day! 

A few hours later, this passenger was reminded that we need to be flexible even though plans are made. 

Weather is a pilot’s friend and enemy.  My husband now monitors and talks about the weather regularly.  That beautiful day as we walked through the first underground railway tunnel, walked the waterfront, took pictures of beautiful old architecture, and enjoyed ice cream, my husband monitored the weather for our return flight the next day.  

Over my heavily hash ice cream, I was informed that a storm was heading to our home by mid-afternoon the next day, and we had to be home before it hit, or we would be grounded in Brockville for 1-2 extra nights. 

The verdict was we had to be at the airport and in the air before noon the next day; earlier was better.  My plans for the market and outdoor shopping were not going to happen. 

My husband, who wanted this trip to be perfect, wanted me to love our adventure,  waited for my reaction. 

This was not the first time, flying has taught me that life happens;

  • There was the time we prepped and pulled the plan out only to push it back in when we couldn’t get the engine to turn over. 
  • The time we flew with a broken radio and could not communicate with one another
  • The time we sat in the car for an hour, waiting for the weather to change in hopes we could follow through with our flying plans, only to turn around and go home.  
  • Or the time we couldn’t get the hanger door to open and had to figure out where to park the plane overnight. 

Yep, flying with my husband the last couple of years has taught me to be more flexible.  It has taught me that life happens, and we have to adapt to it.  I can’t control the weather.  I also can’t control hanger doors, starters, or communication boxes.  All I can do is control how I respond to the situation and then deal with the outcome after.

There, sitting in a pretty little park in Brockville, Ontario, enjoying my heavenly hash ice cream with the sun shining down on us, I let go of the plans already made.  I asked for the window of time we had to aim to leave the B&B and built our contingency plans if the host couldn’t drop us off at the airport at the time we needed. 

The next day we were in the air before noon.  As we flew home, the clouds got thicker, and we had to adjust our altitude to keep our visibility.  We created backup plans if we couldn’t get all the way home by plane.  We were prepared to land at a different airport and take a cab the rest of the way.  We would go back and pick up the plane when it was safe to fly again.  We were ready. 

In the end, we did make it home with only enough time to unpack the plane.  

The reality is that life and business are no different. 

I am a planner.  I want entrepreneurs to be planners.  Planning and running your business proactively is better than running your business reactively at all times. 

However, like flying, we need to be willing to adjust our plans when things we cannot control, happen.  We need to be flexible enough to adapt.  Flexible enough to change our route or find a different way to get to the same destination.  Sometimes it means making sacrifices. 

Even with the challenges, I still love being an entrepreneur. 

Overall, I rated the getaway a success.  We learned lots, had fun and came home with great stories of adventure. 

We also have a reason to go back to Brockville for another overnight… we still have the market and shop the street to experience.