I had a less than positive experience flying to Los Angeles this past week, but I never got mad or let it effect me in a negative way. I remained positive and rolled with the punches the airline kept throwing my way. 👊
As I was thinking about what topic to write about this week, this experience popped into my head as a good example of how I keep a positive mindset. And since I'm always asked how I stay so positive, I thought this would be a great time to share my best tips...
Just to give you a sense of what happened with my flights, I'll go in chronological order.
Last Monday I was supposed to fly from Charlottesville to LA, with a connection through Chicago. About 24 hours before my flight, I got a text from the airline that my Chicago to LA flight was cancelled.
I immediately jumped on the phone with the airline and was able to secure the ONLY option, according to the flight attendant after about 30 minutes of searching. It wasn't an ideal route as I had to visit 4 airports, resulting in a 22 hour long travel day, but it would get me to LA before my event began on Tuesday. 🙌
The other bad news is that I had paid for a first class seat, which I NEVER do. And first class on the new flights was not available. 😩And I literally got the LAST seat on the longest flight (5 hours!) in the row right before the bathroom. 😳
And on the trip home last Friday... my first flight out of LA was delayed by 2 hours, which wasn't so bad because the airline automatically booked me on a later connection. But then my 2nd (and final) flight got delayed and delayed again...
I finally got home at 2:15am. Tired, but alive & well!
1. Always look for the silver lining.
Know that some things are just out of your control, especially when you are dealing with air travel! So control what you can control and that is YOUR MOOD!
When I experience life hiccups, I look for things that make me feel better. Once I accepted the fact I would be traveling longer than I planned, my mind immediately switched to thinking about the possibilities of this new journey & who I would meet.
I wondered who I would sit next to on the plane. I wondered who I'd meet at the bar where I'd be biding my time. I wondered who I'd sit or stand with while I was waiting at my gates. I envisioned only positive experiences throughout my future day.
When my 2nd flight out of Orlando was delayed, I decided to buy a one day pass to the American Airlines Lounge (free snacks & alcohol!) which was soooo worth it! And like I had envisioned, I had a super interesting conversation with an oral implant surgeon, who shared his excitement about just learning he's going to become a father for the first time at 60 years old.
I also met a really neat Palestinian bartender, who immigrated to the US from Jerusalum almost 20 years ago. After much conversation, he let it slip that it was his birthday. Little did he know, I am not shy about breaking out in a birthday song. So I proceeded to lead all of the travelers in the lounge to sing him happy birthday. 🎉
The silver lining in my travel delay was found! Each of us had days that were brighter by having each other in them.
2. Think of things you are grateful for (& extra bonus points if you write them down).
A few things during this unexpected twist of events that I found to be grateful for:
3. Play one of your favorite "feel good" songs.
If you're feeling grumpy, get out your earphones and get on your phone to listen to a favorite song. I have a playlist of songs that make me extra happy so I suggest you create your own and use it in times of need. The customer service agents will appreciate you for that!
4. Take responsibility for the outcome! And smile, A LOT!
Be a leader in any situation. If you are a part of a conversation that is heading in a negative direction, you have the power to move it elsewhere. How about doing something unexpected, like smiling and being nice.
Smiling will not only make you feel better but it will make others feel better too. Anger and bad moods create stress and a simple smile can make all of the difference during a stressful situation.
A great example is when I found out my return flight was delayed by 2 hours. I was worried about my connection because it was a late flight & I didn't want to get stuck somewhere so I decided to go to the American Airlines Admiral Lounge which serves frequent flyers. (I had learned on my flight out to CA that you can buy a day pass for $59, and they have staff who can help you with your flights.)
I approached an AA staff member at a kiosk upon entering the lounge, and before purchasing a day pass, and asked about my delayed flight. She got immediately agitated by my request and told me about the day pass, which I was planning to purchase, but before I had a chance to tell her that, she dismissed me for the person behind me in line!
The old me would have gotten pissed off, pointed out her rudeness, and made the situation worse, but I remained calmed, smiled and simply said: "I'd like that day pass!" All negativity diffused because I took responsibility for making it so!
5. Stay away from negative-minded people!!!
I realize I am one of the lucky ones. I had a great role model for positivity: my mom. I remember her saying: "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."
That saying used to irritate me when I was young because I'm sure I only heard it when I was collecting lemons. LOL! But looking back, I think it is the greatest gift she gave me because it kept me focused on the positive outcome from every lesson.
But more than that, my mother was my first example of the power of association when it comes to mindset. WHO you surround yourself with is so friggin' important.
You may not have been as lucky as me and had a negative parent but regardless of who raised you, YOU have the POWER NOW to choose the type of people you want to be around.
If you are around people who criticize, complain, gossip, don't smile much and get angry easily, you will take on that negative mindset too. If you are around people who complement, get excited, want to improve themselves & the world around them, are super understanding and smile a lot, you will be more positive. Guaranteed!
Hope my tips made sense and you can apply them as you navigate the unexpected that is inevitable in life. Especially if you plan on flying anytime soon. 😜