“remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford

Photo Credit, Red Bird Hills, redbirdhills.com

When I was nine, my parents bought a local battery distribution franchise associated with a national company. It was a huge step in courage. It required years of sacrificing for my mom and dad. They consistently lived on 50% of their income so they could still tithe and save money to buy a business. From 1989 to 2007, I saw them invest, grow and love this business into success. It was a small business, but they created jobs and they invested back into the community. They loved their employees and customers. They worked so hard. From time to time, people will give me a huge compliment and ask me where my work ethic comes from, it comes from Mark and Sue. I also witnessed their loyalty to the company. Until one day, their world and identity, as they knew it, came crashing down. Long story short, they were forced out by the parent company. At the time it was heart breaking. Their identity professionally and personally was wrapped up in their business, in the brand. They could have fought back in a legal battle but they knew it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight. They made the decision to walk away and sold their business at the top of the market. Over the next two years, my dad had to do some serious unraveling of his identity as owner of the business, owner associated with a national brand. He humbled himself and worked for the new owner and let his non-compete play out. When the time was right, they recreated themselves and two new businesses. It was difficult and messy. It was courageous. They pushed through and they held on to their faith the entire time. Watching my dad through that process was hard. I wish I could go back and support him more tenderly through that transition. Up to that point, I had always been so proud to be Mark Theorin’s daughter (and if you know my mom, it goes without saying that I was proud to be Sue’s daughter, she’s a ‘freaking work of art’) but seeing him pivot and move to productivity so quickly is something I will never forget. I respect my dad so much more having watched him go through that season and I can’t even begin to describe the pride I have in him now. I saw him lose his business and move forward to success with strength, vulnerability and a strong sense of self. I’m so glad to have witnessed him in that season. When everything was going against them, I watched my parents launch a commercial airplane into flight, against the wind.

Some of you might be feeling that right now. Maybe you aren’t losing your business, but maybe your feeling major head winds in your business. Perhaps there are decisions or investments you need to make for your future, those decisions are important and meaningful but the decision fatigue might be weighing you down. Maybe you’re a leader and feeling the pressure to drive results or make significant decisions around your team. Maybe you know a relationship change needs to happen in your life with an actual person, an addiction, a habit or crutch. Talk about headwinds and stress. Maybe you are like me and in the middle of a life shake-up. You are at a crossroads. One day, your scenario feels like wind at your back and the very next day it feels like you’re trying to fly a plane directly into the wind. It feels uncomfortable because it is uncomfortable. I am with you, I get it. We each walk through seasons where in the moment the head winds don’t feel as though they’re serving us at all. They just feel like wind, in our face, dust and dirt in our eyes, making things harder than they need to be.  

When you feel those feelings – when I feel those feelings – I remember this quote from Henry Ford. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Why do airplanes take off into the wind? I had to do a little research on this myself. Ultimately, if you take off into the wind, it puts you in a position to achieve higher altitude in less time, with less speed and I’m guessing less fuel. As an example, a large commercial plane needs about 150 mph of airspeed to be airborne if flying into the wind. If there’s little-to-no wind present, the plane must accelerate to 180 mph before it’s airborne.

Throughout our lives, we all experience challenging headwinds. The question I ask myself during these times of challenge, transition and/or change, “am I experiencing head wind, or is it that I’m in the perfect wind environment to lift this airplane off the ground?” What is the airplane that you need to get off the ground and put into flight? You are in this season for a reason. You are growing a business for a reason, people need your products or services. You are making investments into your future for a reason, you need to reach more people for good. You are the right leader at this time and the future of your organization is relying on you to make tough decisions. Your company needs your leadership and conviction to grow and serve. Whatever the scenario, the wind may be at your face but it’s going to allow you to get that plane into flight faster and with less fuel.

Like my parents, you may look back on a challenging time and realize there was someone watching you. There’s a young woman or man, seeing you approach the headwinds, just like I saw my parents lose their business and move forward to success with strength, vulnerability and a strong sense of self. That young person needs to see you get that plane into flight. They need to see you fly the plane because they too will someday come across major headwinds. I know that there are some of you that need this nudge in order to go do the dang thing. Some days I don’t need a nudge, I need a kick in the butt. Consider this your kick in the butt. God has amazing things in mind with your name on it – amazing experiences, amazing results, amazing relationships, amazing freedom and amazing serving opportunities. Remember, you are the only one like you. There’s no one else that can be you, better than you. You were not created by accident. You were created by design. You were given a purpose and it’s time to live it out. But until you acknowledge that the wind in your face will help you fly, you’re just going to be standing on the runway with dust in your eyes.

EncourageYou Opportunity

In this next week, how do you need to adjust your perspective to realize that you’re not just experiencing headwinds, you’re in a perfect environment to fly the plane? What is one or two decisions or actions that you can take to get the plane off the ground?

EncourageHer Opportunity:

In this next week, who is a woman that needs encouragement from you to see that she’s not just experiencing head-wind, but can you help her see that she’s getting ready to fly the plane. Some ideas for you:

  • Who is in a job transition or transitioning into retirement?
  • Who is a leader in the middle of a tough decision, perhaps a leader on your team?
  • Who is losing their identity due to a work change?
  • Who is in a relationship transition or needs to be in relationship transition?
  • Who is experiencing head winds with parenting or becoming a parent again or for the first time?
  • Who is experiencing the loss of kids going off to college, losing their identity as a parent?
  • Who is experiencing the profound loss of someone they love?

How can you come alongside her to encourage her during this time? Could you send a text or make a call? Could you remind her of the God-given gifts she has to share with the world? Could you sit with her on the couch with a glass of wine and just listen? Could you just tell her that you believe in her and that you love her?

I see you. I love you. I’m cheering you on!


Published by encourageherelena

My name is Elena and I'm the Chief Encourager at Encourage Her Elena. Encouraging Women in business, at home and in community is my passion. I'm an author, speaker, and coach. After almost twenty years in Financial Services (the ultimate male dominated industry), I realized that women need to hear another voice. They need to hear their own voice and step into exactly who they were made to be.

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