My last book, (Extra)Ordinary: Inspirational Stories of Everyday People (www.amazon.com/Extra-Ordinary), tells seven uplifting stories of people I know personally. Two of the young women I wrote about ended up becoming flight attendants. When I started seeing their Facebook posts depicting all of the cool places they were traveling to, I began asking questions. They assured me I’d love working as a flight attendant.
Up to that point, I’d flown five times in my life, two of those being for work. Since I’d rarely been on planes, becoming a flight attendant was something I had never considered before.
Fortunately, through writing that book, as well as my next book, (Extra)Ordinary: More Inspirational Stories of Everyday People (kicamprojects.com/extraordinary-more), I had learned a valuable life lesson: True growth rarely occurs INSIDE your comfort zone. Rather, lasting and significant growth takes place when we are willing to stretch ourselves to unfamiliar situations, ones that invoke a little (or a lot of) fear. I have found this to be true for me personally, professionally, and creatively.
After four weeks of classroom training, I had in-air training on real flights with actual passengers. I flew more in the first two days (eight flights) than I had in my entire life to that point. I got to stay in nice hotels 3-4 nights a week, a new location every night. This was quite different than the typical 9-to-5 job, “an entirely new world” as my flight attendant friends had accurately forewarned me.
I grew up in a conservative area of a conservative city (Cincinnati) in a conservative region of the country (Midwest). We are known for either never leaving Cincinnati or for moving away for awhile and then coming back to raise a family. Seemingly everyone knows or is related to everyone else. We like familiar.
When people find out I am a flight attendant—whether I am at home or Anywhere, USA—over and over again people say they’d always wanted to do so also, but for one reason or another they never did. I flashed back to when I went on a pay-it-forward road trip, which I wrote about in my second book—every place we went, person after person confessed they had always wanted to go on a road trip around the country. But, again, no one ever had done it.
Most of my friends are now married with kids, content to stay in town the rest of their lives. There is nothing wrong with that. But as a single guy without children, I feel blessed with the present time to go out and see the world, to meet new people, to learn and grow. Much like with my road trip, if I don’t go for this now, I might never have the opportunity again.
Due to multiple requests, I will post updates, funny stories and more on this blog in the coming weeks, so you can hear about my adventures. (Do not be surprised if I end up writing a book about this new life, working title The Life and Times of a Straight, Male Flight Attendant). I don’t want to live with regret ten, twenty, God-willing fifty years from now.
I have already been on more than fifty flights. I am excited to take advantage of my free flight benefits to fly to San Diego in a few weeks, my first time in California. Stepping out into uncertainty takes courage, so I am proud to say I took a leap of faith, I am giving this a shot. There is so much out there I want to see and experience.