Tag Archives: #How to get along on a team

How to Get Over The Fear of Flying


 

 

 

 

 

 

Flying in an airplane is about par with giving an oral presentation. You feel you can’t do it — it’s a dreaded thing to do but once you do it, you’re always grateful when it’s over with and you’ve survived.

Having been up on a small plane in my teens with my brother who had just gotten his license, I remember the open sides on the small propeller plane and my knees shaking the whole time we were up in the air. I vowed that I would never get in another plane as long as I lived.

Fast forward to work experiences, and a proposed company trip to Puerto Rico for a convention that shattered my equilibrium. I ran out and bought the book Fear of Flying by Erica Jong. Mainly, it was about sex, passion and sexual identity and not a word about the fear of flying. Well, not in the sense of flying in a plane.

After not sleeping the two nights before the flight actually transpired, I re-enacted the wobbly knees of former experience and even took a Valium someone offered me. Just as I was settling into the level just below wigging out, someone from work who knew of my fear, yelled out, “Hey Marie, your horoscope says you shouldn’t travel today”. Funny to everyone on board but me. The trip is a blur going and coming and the time in the air was the whole focus of the trip. Not a fun trip.

I vowed yet again, I would never fly.

A couple of years later, my job required ‘flying’ but only on the east coast for career seminars. I didn’t want to fly period. No way, Jose. I always went into my fugue on these trips and always made sure I was with someone I knew. A short time later, there was a human resource need for supporters on an outreach program in Cincinnati and I had to go alone! This was an up-all nighter worrying fest and thankfully, I knew someone from the company on the flight. White knuckles all the way.

On each flight, I vowed it would be my last. I hated flying – too much free floating anxiety around.

After about 10 flights like this, I decided that was it. There was a plane crash the week before I had to fly to Charlotte, NC and a plane crash in Charlotte, NC the week after I got back and that blew my ‘odds’ that lightning couldn’t strike twice in the same place. What are the odds of that happening?

I really got good at making excuses for not traveling or making other arrangements (why don’t you come up this way?) and just when I felt that I never had to fly again, I married a man who was born in Sicily and had family there. He redid the family house and wanted to travel to Italy at least once a year. Eight or nine hours one way? And the same the way back? No way, Jose. I barely did the east coast for up to 3 hours top. All that time in a plane? I would never last.

He never insisted, but I did always want to see Italy. So this is how I get on a plane every year to travel 8 or 9 hours (depending on the wind) to go to Italy.

  • It has to be something you really want to do. Like visiting a last family member in Scotland or a vacation in France that someone bought for you. You have to be the one to decide, just like giving up smoking or deciding to lose weight – it’s your call and something you want to do more than you fear it.
  • I went to local airports and watched the planes come in and go out. They do that every couple of minutes or less. And they were all fine. And thought about all the planes that came in all day there every couple of minutes – in and out. And thought of all the cities and airports all over the world that do the same thing. All those flights.
  • The amount of things that can go wrong on a flight are nothing like other modes of traveling. You hear about accidents and crashes all the time with cars, trains and ships but flying is actually the safest way to travel.
  • You have to minimize stress if you decide to travel – travel light and detail your arrangements. Make direct flights where you don’t have to juggle your luggage through airports to another terminal. Even with rides, it can be stressful doing that.
  • Try to get an aisle seat when you make flight arrangements. It gives you some control over getting up and getting down, using the rest room and just stretching your legs.
  • Bring things that will absorb you (yes, it can happen) so that you don’t count the whirrs the engine is making and one time if there are more than usual and you wonder why. I bring books that I’ve been wanting to read, crossroad puzzles, my journal and datebook to go over for the trip.
  • International flights usually have wonderful ways to keep your mind occupied: they show new movies concurrently – with head gear so you can watch, go back or pick it up wherever you want and whenever you want. They also have these neat computers in front of each person where you can track your flight or play games like poker or solitaire or watch popular TV programs. The same head gear lets you listen to all kinds of music.

There are blankets, but I bring a warm, long sweater; it’s cozy while closing your eyes even if you don’t sleep.

I do bring a Tylenol PM and take it around 9:00 pm our time. With the time change, you will be flying into the airport around 7:00 am, and breakfast will be served – our time it will be around 1:00 am but it will be light out and you will eat breakfast. And get on with another day even though it is early in the morning our time. {I don’t sleep until nighttime – their time – at 9:00 pm and go right into their time schedule.}

They also have a duty-free service aboard and sell all these neat things – it’s like shopping on QVC – another mind-diverting tactic.

There is usually a dinner and a breakfast and a snack served – all with alcoholic drinks. So if you don’t Tylenol, you can drink. All these servings take up time and are a nice diversion from you worrying if the pilot is still awake.

Busy hands are happy hands – and two matters cannot occupy the same space at the same time. If you keep busy, and I promise you will, you won’t have time to focus on your fear. The more you travel, the less fearful you are.

I still don’t like to fly. I don’t like being up in the air with no control over how to steer the plane. However, it is much more safe with the pilots up there behind the controls. But I’m more comfortable with it now and do it because I really want to go where the plane will take us.

The clincher for me that took away all my fears and fidgeting was a take-off with my relaxed husband and me with white knuckles. I looked at him and he smiled as we took off, and said sweetly, “Did you leave your faith on the ground?” Since I am a faith-based person, this made tremendous sense to me; I relaxed and now leave my trip safety in God’s hands.

Marie Coppola © September 2013

The Four Personality Types – Which One are You?


The four personality styles are: Drivers * Analyticals * Amiables * Expressives

 Have you ever wondered why it is so pleasant to work with some people and so difficult with others? Whether it is work, customer service, community or volunteer activities, we find ourselves wondering what makes that guy or gal tick and behave as they do.

Work conditions can be tedious at best, and to interface with people who work differently than you do can cause stress and inevitable non-productive conditions. That is one of the reasons why most Human Resource (HR) departments encourage team building and seminars – to neutralize these kinds of problems. It is more an individual style or personality that causes conflict than any other reason.

A brief characteristic description of the 4 four personality styles: Drivers, Analyticals, Amiables and Expressive:

Drivers – “Get to the point”.

 They like to take charge and control of a situation. They make quick decisions and are responsive to challenges. Focus is on producing results. They are efficient, hard-working, forceful and strong-willed. Direct and to-the-point when they want others to do things and are completion-oriented. No beating around the bush; they are competent and either want options or results. “Don’t waste and save time.” “What’s the bottom line?”” They like feedback.

Some adjectives for them: risk-taker, determined, demanding, action-orientated, decisive, problem solver, direct, assertive, forceful, competitive,independent.   Many top company officials,Chief Executive Officers, Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and Directors are drivers.

Analyticals – “I can’t commit until I know all the facts”….chaos drives them crazy.

They like organization and are structured, concise, with not too many emotions. They like to work by themselves. Will use specific details, facts, evidence and measurements. Do not like to be wrong and it’s better to let them ‘save face’. They ask many questions and like to take their time on projects or anything. They are task-oriented and detailed-oriented and use facts and logic. Usually they approach people with care and caution and do not commit anything until they are comfortable. May appear too cautious, overly structured, someone who does things too much ‘by the book’.

Some adjectives for them: orderly, systematic, controlled, disciplined, logical, precise, cautious, disciplined, deliberate, introvert.   Chemists, financial analysts, technology analysts, mechanics and lawyers can be analyticals.

Amiables – “Let’s have a real team effort”….loves cooperative, team effort.

Tries to save relationships or bring harmony within groups. Thrives in team environments. Is helpful to others. Provides support and positive strokes for others’ work and accomplishments. Willingness to communicate and place value and trust in other workers. Places a high priority on getting along with people. Natural skills for coaching, counseling and aiding others. Has a sense of loyalty to work and peer groups. Smooths over conflicts within groups and organizes celebrations, brings in birthday cakes and other treats. They are dependable, loyal and easygoing. They like things friendly. They make quick decisions and are described as a warm person and sensitive to the feelings of others.

Some adjectives for them: supportive, team person, loyal, patient, considerate, empathetic, sympathetic, trusting, congenial.   Coaches, counselors, human resource workers, social workers, facilitators, and ministers can be amiables.

Expressive Personality – “Wow, that’s a great report – I know a great place for lunch”.

 Very outgoing and enthusiastic, they create excitement and involvement with others. They have a high energy level and make others feel good about themselves. They know that you value them. Excitable, fun-loving, and talkative, sometimes overly dramatic, impulsive and manipulative. They love attention, and having an audience, and especially applause and recognition. They are achievement oriented but sometimes slow to reach a decision. They have good ideas, but are not always completion-oriented. Particularly fond of socializing. Risk-takers, competitive and spirited. They are also futuristic, creative and inspirational.

Some adjectives for them: communicators, charming, confident, impulsive, enthusiastic, animated, dramatic, influential, motivating, optimistic.  Teachers, nurses, musicians, comedians can be expressives.

 

Once the employee understands which style he or she exhibits in a group or team and their individual personality styles, the more better he or she adapts to working with that person. This approach is a very popular concept and helpful in areas where some employees feel they produce more work than others, work more efficiently, and sometimes resent their unproductive and incompetent (in their view) co-workers. The personalities are explained in a seminar and each employee rates themselves as to which type or personality style they are. Many are correct; some are off-base. Some exhibit 2 or 3 styles out of the four. With that in hand, the next meeting is a physical team-building seminar.

There are many team building exercises – and they are all very neat and well received by employees because they are fun. Most importantly, the exercises, which range from being stranded in a jungle with a broken helicopter to supplying goods in crucial time to a valued customer in bad weather.

In the helicopter scenario, props and supplies are provided and the team is set forth to fix the helicopter with the props and decide who is going to do what. They have a time limit and consequences if they don’t get out of the jungle on time.

Inherent work personalities emerge in performing the tasks, and are later discussed by the team. It is a soft way for same level professionals to point out what they and others could have done to save their lives! The manager is not present for these exercises; but is brought in a later date for interface in other exercises — sometimes it is the manager who is the problem employee! The HR person does not get involved in the exercise except to answer questions of what can or cannot be done.

Sometimes when even the simplest solution is the best way ~   the team makes it very complicated.

The above is a very brief view of team building exercises, but I wanted to stress the 4 personality styles that are most common at work, in customer service, or group and team efforts and how they arrive at solutions to problems.

At these team building seminars, the employees learn how to deal with the different styles. They also learn to understand their own style and how they all relate to each in a group setting. Some of us don’t belong to one group, but can be a compilation of the others; and others may be two of them. Or three. Once you understand them, you will better understand and relate to co-workers, customers, groups, teams and even members of your family!

© Marie Coppola July 2013