“Please, Please, make it stop!!!” The man sitting next to me on the plane started screaming as soon as we took off.
I’m ‘team window’ as you can see from my picture, and I usually fall asleep before take-off, so when he grabbed my arm and said “I don’t feel well”, it took me a couple of seconds to react.
The person on the aisle was faster and got him the paper bags you use in these cases.
We calmed him down to the best of our ability; we explained that planes are the safest means of transport - I even shared that my brother was a pilot and that there was nothing to be afraid of.
But this was not the point, Carlos was not afraid, he just didn’t feel well in his body. He could not breathe properly and thus was panicking.
When the seatbelt sign went off, he was calmer and managed to explain that it was his first time on a plane, and that if he had known about this, he’d have never taken the job opportunity abroad.
He was not properly prepared for the experience; nobody had explained to him what he might feel throughout the flight.
Once in our awareness, we ‘the experts’ could serve him, support him and guide him throughout the flight. We kept an eye out for him and we were able to anticipate what might happen in case of turbulence (which we had flying through #Eunice) and during landing.
“Carlos, we’re about to land. I normally get ear pain at this point”.
“YES! I’m feeling that now”.
“Ok, here’s what you can do: Chewing gum and forcing a yawn works for me. Try if it does for you too”.
“THANK YOU SO MUCH!”
What could have been a very long 13 hour flight from Buenos Aires to Amsterdam for all, turned into a shared experience for all 3 of us strangers.
Here are some thoughts and learnings I’d like to share with you from this experience:
- It can be uncomfortable to hear someone’s ask for help, but we should not make it about ourselves.
I realised this was not about me saving the day, it was about holding space for him and for what he needed. He allowed us to do so by showing his #vulnerability.
How many people suffer but don’t say anything about it?
How can we stay open to the signs?
- Do not make any assumptions (the Third Agreement). Instead, find the courage to ask questions. “What do you need right now?”
- In hindsight, this is not too different from a #coaching journey. As a coach, I guide and support my clients through what I’m an expert in and what I have experienced myself: a spiritual transformational journey, reinventing myself in a new country and designing a life I love to live.
When you work with someone who knows what’s coming and what tools can support you, the journey is much more enjoyable and feels safer!
Would you like to explore what that could look like for you?
Book a discovery call with me here.
With love, Paula