Lift vs. Drag: A Leader's Perspective

Updated: September 04, 2009

So, how do you get a 35,000-pound F-16 jet fighter to fly?

It's no easy feat. To overcome the force of gravity, you have to create a force that is greater than gravity's grasp.

That force is lift.

As the F-16 blasts through the sky, there is an "enemy" of lift that must be overcome known as drag. There are two kinds of drag - Induced and Parasite. Induced drag is a "good drag' in that it is a bi-product of lift and is necessary for flight. Parasite drag is not helpful as it battles against the "good" drag, working to slow the aircraft down. It's caused by the non-lifting portions of the aircraft, such as the landing gear, missiles, and fuel tanks.

Ok - here's the big picture. In order to fly, a jet's lift must exceed drag. The less drag, the easier it flies.

Let's look at this in fighter combat. When evading missiles or engaging another fighter, one of the first things you must do is jettison your stores. You have to get rid of all the parasite drag hanging from the jet that's not critical to immediate, fast flight. Fuel tanks and bombs, for example, go. This reduces your weight while simultaneously reducing drag, allowing the fighter to be much more maneuverable to avoid getting shot down.

Simply put, if you don't need it, you drop it.

What ‘parasites' do you have dragging you down and stopping you from reaching new heights in your life? Do you find yourself unable to avoid life's the missiles because you have too much weighing you down?

Parasites are the negative relationships that sap your energy and time. They are also the fears, doubts, mental baggage, and self-limiting beliefs that strangle your ability to take action. Parasites suck the life out of you. They can drag you down emotionally and hold you back from being a successful leader.

Do you have any of that "hanging around?"

We all have parasite drag in our life and we know it. We're just not aware that we have it, or we put off doing anything about it until our own personal "missiles" begin to fly. The problem is if we're dragged down too much, the missiles will hit us.

What are you holding on to that you really need to let go of?

Here's my advice. Jettison your parasites now!

Are you willing to jettison what's dragging you down so you can become more fulfilled and successful? Perhaps it's an unhealthy relationship, laziness, or a private addiction such as TV, gambling, or even that sugar fix you seem to always crave. Or maybe it's a bad job that is bringing you down or a fear of failure that is stopping you from starting a new business.

Want to find what gives lift in your life? Look at what drives your passion. Look at the relationships and activities that get you excited and energized and ready to "push it up" in life. Then, pursue them relentlessly. Seek what gives you life.

When flight planning for success, winners have an ability to get rid of distractions and focus on action that leads to positive results. They also surround themselves with people who challenge them. If you want to be a success, spend time with people that lift you up to greater heights. They are your wingmen. Folks who have the courage and compassion to tell it like it is. They won't settle for your excuses, but they will also inspire you and give you hope.

So, how do you attract these type of people into your life? You do it by giving your time, advice, and hope to those in need. You become a wingman to others and help them to fly to greater heights. You do the hard work to build your own character before expecting it of others. This is the core of leadership. When you do this, wingmen will naturally be attracted to you. They will feel comfortable coming to you for help and you will slowly but surely find yourself surrounded by people you trust. As I always say, never fly solo.

Leadership Wingtip:
Leaders push themselves up, while pulling others up.
Discipline, hard work, and productive relationships are the lifts in life that overcome the parasite drags of unhealthy relationships, addictions and complacency. They are your tools to conquer mediocrity and live with courage. They will help you to win. Don't leave them from your flight plan.

If you want to reach new heights in business and life, make sure you do whatever it takes to maximize your lift and minimize your drag. Not only will you avoid the missiles, but you'll hit your target as well!

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