Lean in

7.25am: Landed in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. My next flight to Nuremberg is at 8.25am. Would I make it? Technically I only had 45 minutes as the gate closes 15 minutes before the flight.

7.30am: Still waiting at the back of the plane (lesson learned: when you have a flight to catch almost immediately, don’t choose the seat at the back).

7.45am: Finally got to the security check after a long walk from the arrival gate. “I should be able to make it”, my optimistic side said despite the super long queue in front of me. I could have asked for help to get in front and somehow, the cat got my tongue, I was just ¬†sheepishly, patiently, anxiously & frustratingly waiting for my turn.

7.59am: It was my turn now. The only challenge was my backpack got some special treatment from the officer so we had to wait patiently. I asked the officer how long it would take me to my gate from here. She said casually “I don’t know, maybe 10 minutes!”. “I should be able to make it, I will run to the gate” – my optimistic Vu reassured.

8.00am: I ran like no tomorrow to the connecting gate. “I will make it! Wait, how come there was a long line here? Ignore it, just run”. Well, I couldn’t anymore because that was the queue for immigration checkpoint and it would take at least 1 hour to go through this, even with my most optimistic view.

8.02am: Just when I got totally disappointed, I heard someone saying “anyone with 8.45am flight?”. I immediately ran towards this lady and asked for help. I told her my flight was even earlier, 8.25am, would I make it? She then showed me the VIP lane and I just ran and ran.

8.05am: There were still lots of people at the VIP lane. What to do? Without any hesitation, I decided to lean in and ask for help again from everyone. “Excuse me, my flight is in 20 minutes, can I please go first?”. To my surprise or not, everyone was so kind and said go ahead.

8.08am: I now had 7 minutes to run to the gate which according to the sign will take at least 15 minutes to do so. Given how fit I am, it will probably take at least 30 minutes! Luckily, I didn’t have time for these thinking sinking in my head, I just ran instead. I even dared to ask the golf cart driver for a ride and he was kind enough to tell me to run instead as it would be faster! (I didn’t know this fact!)

8.17am: I finally got to the gate and for some miracles, they hadn’t closed the gate yet. I made it. Sweating like a pig and almost fainted from trying to catch my breath.

8.25am: The pilot announced that we would have to wait for at least 12 minutes to take off due to traffic congestion. I was still trying to catch my breath and at the same time catching myself smiling from achieving the impossible.

I was still wondering how on earth I made it to this flight and then I realized the answer was so simple. Just lean in and ask for help. People are always willing to help you. The universe out there is also ready to support you.

But you need to take the first and most difficult step – ask for it, because if you don’t, nobody will know that you need help.

In my case, I could run like Usain Bolt, the fastest man on earth and would still miss my flight if I didn’t get the help from the immigration officer, other passengers & the golf cart driver. I learned that as much as I want to think that I can do everything on my own, I can’t.

I am so ready to lean in now. Are you?

What do you need to take that first step to ask for help? And what will you need to let go to lean in 100%?




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