recently received an email story, author unknown, titled, Your
Parachute. It was about a U.S. Navy jet pilot, Charles Plumb,
who was shot down after 76 combat missions and spent 6 years in
a Vietnamese prison. He had to overcome numerous obstacles but
he survived his ordeal.
One day Plumb ran into a man who
recognized him saying he was the sailor who had packed Plumb’s
parachute that fateful day. The man told Plumb that he was delighted
to know that the parachute he had packed had worked and was glad
it had saved him when he had been shot down.
couldn't sleep that night, thinking about this man, wondering
how many times he may have seen him and ignored him. Never bothering
to say hello simply because Plumb was a “fighter pilot”
and this man “just a sailor.” This man had spent many
hours below deck, carefully and laboriously packing parachutes,
holding the lives of many men - including Plumb’s - in his
Why am I sharing this story with
you? Each day we need to spend time packing our own parachutes
so that we are prepared when unseen obstacles come our way.
What does this mean? We need to take
time to nurture our bodies and souls to ensure that we are always
in peak working condition both physically and mentally. We need
to take time to nurture others that are facing their own obstacles,
however large or small, as we move along our own journey. And,
we need to take time to nurture and build relationships with those
people who we can trust to provide the support we need along the
What we most need to do is pack small
parachutes everyday. You do this by acknowledging and recognizing
those people around you by taking time to say hello, how are you,
please, thank you, have a nice day, congratulations, sorry, feel
better, and whatever other words or actions that a person may
require from you to get through the day.
Next time things get tough and you
are facing challenges you feel you can’t overcome, take
out your parachute, pull the cord and watch your parachute unfold.
If you’ve done your part, you shouldn’t have to ask,
“Who packed my parachute?”
Regina Barr is a management consultant
and speaker with a special passion for helping women achieve leadership
success. Regina helps companies develop strategies to attract,
develop and retain women leaders. Her consulting firm, Red Ladder,
Inc., also helps organizations and their leaders develop their
full potential through strategic project management and coaching.
For more information visit www.RedLadder.com
Copyright 2005 Regina
Barr, Red Ladder, Inc.