This isn’t my first blog, in fact kids, your old Uncle Pat has been blogging since 2004.
I used to be a private pilot. I’ve always loved aviation and in my early twenties, broke as hell and with way too much time on my hands (graduated college, no girlfriend, very few friends to hang out with) in 2004 I decided to give flying a shot.
From 2004 – 2010 I flew fairly regularly, about once a month. It was a lot of fun, I enjoyed the challenge of getting new ratings, testing my skills, up in the air just me and the airplane. I started blogging not long after I got my private pilot’s license, simply because I felt a single line in a logbook didn’t do what I was experiencing justice.
It was a lot of fun, for a while. Over time though I noticed a pattern, in that, I rarely left the pattern (in aviation, the “pattern” is the space surrounding the airport, usually 1000 feet above the ground reserved for taking off & landing traffic). I would go on short hops to nearby airports, do some basic landings & takeoffs, and return back to my homefield. Soon, I stopped even making those trips.
I think I “officially” quit flying when I started Anecka, three years ago. But my heart quit on flying months before; I could blame the rising cost of rent, gas, insurance (it’s shocking and sad how expensive flying has become), in reality, I think it came down to just not surrounding myself with a group of people my own age interested in flying.
I’m an introvert, which means, I get energized by ideas, not necessarily meeting new people. It’s something I’m actively working on, and I’ve made a lot of progress, however in my twenties interacting with strangers was a nerve-wracking experience for me. I also didn’t really get how important peers can be.
Keep in mind peers are different from friends (a peer can be a friend, but not all friends are peers). Peers are people you have a mutual respect for who share a common interest or passion. Peers can help kick you out of the rut, they can challenge you to fly outside of the pattern once in a while and tackle something new. The best peers will show you where your blind spots are, help you find things that you might have missed or force you to thinking about details you thought were unimportant.
On the flip side, if you surround yourself with people who don’t understand what you’re trying to do, or who find ways to belittle or marginalize your accomplishments, then it can have a devastating affect on your success. Those people are not your peers and you have to take care to minimize your exposure to them (this is especially hard if they are family or “friends”).
I’m very lucky to have learned this, I have a fantastic wife who understands the struggles of working for yourself, because she does the same thing (peer), and I’ve sought out other entrepreneurs in Columbus at events like Wakeup Startup, Startup Weekend, and VentureCafe.
Finally, I’ve learned to reach out more to strangers and make myself available. Social anxiety is a luxury that I can’t afford anymore. If you find yourself stuck in a rut (or in aviation speak “circling the pattern”) I encourage you to get out of the home office and start to find a solid peer group. Heck shoot me a message on Twitter, or comment on this post, I’d be happy to get to know you!