Standing up, publicly, for what we believe is a daunting task. We have feelings of inadequacies, shyness, fear of being wrong, fear of being judged, fear of being attacked. To stand up publicly places me front and center in a group of strangers. To remain silent is the easy task. Yet, remaining silent may compromise our values.
Of course people do stand up publicly for their beliefs. They risk the outcome of their action, hoping for the best. They find the strength and courage to take a chance. They may not be entirely confident in doing what they eventually do, but the outcome is what is most important.
A colleague of mine, Bianca, recently related her experience of overcoming fear and standing up for what she believed in. Read her account here and watch her video of the event. You will be inspired!
Drastic times call for drastic measures. Which is why I took it upon myself to address 102 fellow passengers on American Airlines Flight 292 to JFK yesterday. Thankfully my new friend Zerina, caught it on video.
Here’s what happened…
I was flying to New York to surprise my BFF, Cori for her 40th birthday. I had been anticipating this day for weeks. Cori’s husband, James and I had giggled over the phone scheming how to surprise Cori. Timing was crucial. She was having a massage at 3pm in Manhattan so I needed to be sitting unexpectedly in the spa lounge by 4pm to shock the be-jesus out of her. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve. All excitement and anticipation.
Unfortunately, my 6am flight was delayed. As 30 minutes turned into 4 hours I kept my hopes up imagining jumping out from clothing racks in SoHo stores surprising Cori during her post massage shopping.
Finally, we boarded the plane and were in cue for take off. I could relax now. There was still a possibility I would make it to Manhattan in time to pull this off. Until suddenly an authoritative sounding flight attended announced, “Will the owner of a Galaxy Note 7 phone please come forward. There is a safety issue and it must be confiscated if we are to take off.” Crickets.
I could feel hostility rising around me as irritated and tired passengers asked “Why don’t you just give it up, man?” I took in the scene and began thinking about how the Galaxy phone owner might be feeling. Afraid. Confused. I am deeply familiar with this paralyzing combo. It makes me want to dig a very deep hole and hide there indefinitely.
My mind begins racing. We all have the same shared goal to get to New York. Anger isn’t going to help this situation. The phone owner is scared.
If they come forward now they may be humiliated. This all seems so absurd. How can I help? I felt compelled to stand up and say something. There was a mix of disbelief, frustration, compassion and inspiration brewing inside of me. Compassion and inspiration won out. Before I knew it I was on my feet walking down the isle introducing myself to 102 strangers enlisting them to help me make situation right.
Somehow it worked! Minutes later the phone was quietly turned over to a flight attendant and taken off the plane. The cabin was filled with relief and cheers. No one gave the phone owner a hard time. Together we ascended into the sky.
Watch my surprising impromptu appeal now.
I am grateful to say that Cori was completely surprised when I showed up at her home in our hometown, Westport CT last night. I was 5 hours late but I feel I was right on time.
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Always remember - You are complete. You are whole. You are miraculous.