As I sat in the airport early this morning watching planes full of travelers disappear into the low cloud cover, I was reminded of the importance of radar.
The sky is infinite, but the airspace around a large airport is actually pretty crowded, especially for large tin buckets full of passengers going hundreds of miles per hour. When you add thick cloud coverage into the mix, known by us pilots as the “soup”, you have an interesting recipe for potential disaster. That is, without radar.
You see, radar keeps track of those tin buckets full of passengers. it tells someone on the ground where every plane is in the air and where each one needs to go in order to accomplish the mission of efficiently and safely delivering its passengers.
As a pilot myself, I find there are two types of pilots out there in the non-commercial aviation space. There’s the pilot who wants to be on the radar, to be tracked and warned of potential issues, traffic and weather, etc. Then there are the mavericks. The ones who would rather not have the world know where they’re going, when they intend to get there, why, etc. I have found the same to be true for most people in our lives as well.
When you are on the radar of someone you respect and follow, you get the advice, leadership, mentorship and awareness you need to achieve your highest potential. You have someone looking out for you. Someone watching to make sure you are able to efficiently achieve your end goal.
On the other hand, when you’re off the radar, it’s all left up to you. You avoid accountability and have a quiet arrogance or selfishness about you. One that lets your self-talk guide you without people to help you to know when that self-talk is harmful, or when you could be growing and doing more.
I recently had a tough conversation with a peer of mine who I really care about. He’s been flying under the radar for some time now. This particular individual told me he “doesn’t really want things to change” with his environment. He seemed to think he knew what needed to be done and how he would get it done. I heard this clearly and after thinking about this for a week, I pressed into him pretty hard about it.
You see, he’s not delivering what he is capable of. He is not getting the mentorship, feedback and guidance he needs in order to be the best he can be. He has not been receiving the accountability needed, but he is also not asking for it. Don’t hear me wrong, he’s smart as hell and has amazing potential, but he is not working in an environment to realize it and that’s his choice. If he’s not asking for the accountability from his boss, his peers, a mentor, he’s putting together a recipe for living off the radar and not achieving his potential.
Living on the radar is hard. Quite frankly, it sucks sometimes. You hear feedback you don’t always want to hear. You get called out on your mistakes and maybe even your sins. You get told about ways you missed an opportunity or screwed up a conversation or project. Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve. Sometimes you get told what to do even if it’s not what you want to do.
When we choose to be on the radar, we have the best likelihood of achieving the success we’re after. But more importantly, we also have an opportunity to inspire others. You see, when we're on people’s radar, others see good that we do and they help us learn from our mistakes. Those lessons can then extrapolate to help others too. We get better, people around us get better and the world we live in gets better.
Here are some tips for flying on the radar:
Be Authentic: When you are authentic and vulnerable with people, they have silent permission to be the same for you. This makes them more comfortable giving you the feedback you need and expect while on the radar.
Build Meaningful Relationships: It’s one thing when someone I don’t know and maybe even don’t respect gives me feedback, but when it comes from someone I have a relationship with, I hear it. it’s more meaningful. Take the time to invest in relationships with the people you want to help you stay focused, engaged and productive.
Share your Goals and Intentions: People need to know what you’re trying to do so they can help you do it well.
Ask For Help: This sucks sometimes because people often expect you to have all of the answers. Humility is always good and if you don’t ask for help when you need it, people may not be willing to give it to you when you think you don’t.
Listen: If you make the choice to live on the radar, you must also listen without bias to the feedback you receive. You might disagree with the feedback, but if you don’t hear it, really hear it, then you can’t grow.
It’s our choice; mine and yours. What choice will you make? As for me, I choose to be on the radar. Both in life and when I fly. I want the help and awareness, even when it’s not easy to digest.
Vince Lombardo is the Chief Sales Officer for Heartland, where he has served in a leadership role for over 15 years. Heartland is a group of entrepreneurs respectfully serving entrepreneurs who care about the work they do and who they do it for by focusing on the customer’s present and future needs, cultivating quality relationships and providing the best payments, payroll, point-of-sale, customer engagement and lending products to businesses across the country.