EAA Heartland Chapter 1240 - The Spirit of Aviation
197 Challenger Drive Sebring, Florida
(863) 655-1104 eaasebring@gmail.net

Walking the I-Beam

The role play scenario was simple as presented to the group. I asked for a volunteer who had a young child. After finding that person, we chatted about their child, and then I set the scene.

“There is a 120-foot I-beam in the parking lot, laying on the ground, that is 10 inches wide. I will give the volunteer $100 if they will step up on the beam and walk the full length without stepping off.”  Will they, do it? Of course, they will. The question is, can you walk in a straight line for 120 feet?

Now I give them the chance to double their money, $200, but now I’m moving the I-beam to another location.  The beam is now stretching across two large buildings 200 stories up in the air, 120 feet apart. The I-beam is firmly fastened to each building. “Are you coming across for $200? No? Why not, you did it before!”

So now I start increasing the pay out; $1,000, $5,000, and all the while indicating the situation is changing with increasing blowing wind, rain and fog. Even reaching one million dollars, there is temptation, but no one is coming across.

The scene is now set with me holding their child over the edge of the other building, and I will let go if they don’t come across. “Are you coming?” Of course, you are. (The key point here is to use young children and not teenagers.)

This is an exercise to determine what you would “Walk the I-Beam for?” The role play is prefaced by the group identifying what their highest priorities are and in another exercise identifying their typical daily “to do list”.

Often the typical revelation is that the daily to do list did not have anything on it that supported their highest priorities. I have conducted this exercise with many groups over the years, and the most fun was the high-powered executives. These folks were on the high-speed treadmill of life and career, with career often being the primary concern. I was brought in to help participants find a balance and manage their time and resources more effectively.

My direct statement to them was, “until you find room on your daily to do list with actions that support your highest priorities, you deserve what you get!” These folks were not used to having someone talk to them that way, especially someone who came from the outside and didn’t know their world. But I did know their challenges, and although the truth hurt a bit, it was a real revelation for them.

So, what does this have to do with my typical aviation based column. I was tempted to write about all the great things in 2016 that occurred with aviation and EAA chapter 1240. There were many, and it would be easy, but not that important. What is important is what we are going to do in the new year ahead. What are our highest priorities, what are we going to act on, and what are we going to let go? What are we willing to walk the I-beam for in 2017? Make the time to sit and make your action plan.

EAA chapter 1240 has built a foundation supporting youth aviation education. We have added resources and equipment to support that effort and will involve more youth and volunteers in 2017. Personally, I have more discretionary time on my hands with retirement, and after my family and health, getting more youth and their families involved in aviation and aerospace is what I would walk the I-beam for. Creating “options and opportunities” is the legacy I want to develop. Won’t you join us? There are many ways to assist in our programs. Contact John Rousch at jhr@stratomail.net, 863-273-0522. Happy New Year everyone!