Captain’s Log: #StayInTheProcess

A “Symphony of Your Life” blog with Mark Hardcastle

March 25, 2021

Back on March 25th of 2020 I was scheduled to speak at a networking happy hour. I’d attended their meetings as a guest, had actually spoken for them before, and by this time I had become friends with many and was looking forward to seeing them. Obviously, that event did not happen.

The pandemic still had the upper hand: its impact growing, its ultimate effect not yet known. I couldn’t encourage them in person, but I wanted to do something. So I wrote them a letter. Part of the text follows in quotations below.

When I wrote that letter, to borrow from Churchill, we weren’t even at the end of the beginning. A year later I believe we’re beyond the beginning of the end. And we’re like a squadron of B-17s in March of 1945: bullet-riddled. Those still air-worthy continue to fly, taking the battle to the enemy, until the conclusion, though foregone, is at hand. I hope the idea I shared with my friends a year ago encourages you today. Today, 12 months down the road, the end is in sight. All we have to do is #StayInTheProcess.

“…We’re not meeting today because we’re fighting a battle together. It’s touching each of us. Every member of Cor2Cor. And here’s something you’re not hearing in the media, or from our government leaders, but I’m 100% certain that it’s true. You have been through hard battles before. And by virtue of the fact that you are present today, reading this note, I know that you’ve survived. Indeed, you’ve thrived. And each battle you’ve worked over, under, around, or through has given you tools that you’ve been able to use in subsequent fights. Including the one we’re all fighting today.

When we connect with the pandemic behind us, I’ll share some stories about that reality. I’ll tell you about my daughter, Anna, who pursued her dream for more than a decade before it came true. I’ll introduce you to the Jump Master at Fort Benning who daily teaches soldiers that they can keep going as long as they need to. We’ll talk about how Koko Crater taught me to manage the enormity of any great challenge.

And I’ll invite you to know my friend and mentor, Captain Mark Hoog, who taught me one of the most important lessons Life has for us: if we are ever to succeed in anything, we simply must stay in the process. It’s a simple idea, though not necessarily easy in times like these.

I look forward to visiting with you when we can. Until then, I encourage you to lean into the idea that you are equipped for this challenge. And thank you for being the leaders I know you to be. You are the encouragers who are leading our community through and ultimately away from this crisis.

I’ll see you soon!

#StayInTheProcess

Link to Mark’s book, The Symphony of Your Life

The Symphony of Your Life    

The Symphony of Your Life on YouTube

Mark graduated from the USAF Academy in 1982. After nine years as a pilot on active duty, he left the military to join a commercial airline. In addition to flying B-737s around the country, Hardcastle spends time in the Rocky Mountains and serves on the artistic staff of the Colorado Children’s Chorale. He lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his wife and four children. Need some help figuring out why you’re on this planet? Want to talk about discovering your mission and purpose? Contact Mark today at 720.840.8361 to schedule a free personal consultation. He can also deliver an inspirational keynote or workshop for your organization! email: mark@symphonyofyourlife.com for information.

Posted in Inspiration, Motivation, UncategorizedTagged BeingUnited, CaptainsLog, determination, how, inspiration, NewWorld, perseverance, PostCovid, purpose, StayInTheProcess, StepOverTheBar, symphonyofyourlife, TheSymphonyofYourLife, United, WeAreUnited

Captain’s Log: The Meadow of Wisdom

A “Symphony of Your Life” blog with Mark Hardcastle

April 5, 2021. Where do you do your thinking? When do you have those epiphanies? (You do have them, right? Do you write them down?) My friend, Rear Admiral Scott Jones, Ironman, Champion Triathlete, says his brain doesn’t kick in until his heart rate hits 125. In my case it’s when I’ve been walking for about 45 minutes. I often do that walking in the nearby Willow Springs Open Space. I call it The Meadow of Wisdom.

Today at about that point in that open space it occurred to me that my peers in the airline world are generally high achievers. They exist in the world of about 95%. They show up to every flight prepared, competent, happy to be there, and ready to give great service. That’s sustainable. It’s a level of excellence that isn’t exhausting and won’t lead to burnout.

But what would it look like if they showed up with 97 or 98% of their ability? How would their passengers experience the flight?

In his inspirational presentations, my friend, Captain Bob Zimmermann often asks listeners to raise a hand as high as they can. He then asks them to raise it a little bit more. Inevitably they do!

And then there’s this. What do you have if you have a pot of water at 211 degrees Fahrenheit? The answer is a pot of really hot water. But what happens when you add just enough additional energy to raise that water just one more degree? This answer is…”magic.” With that tiny addition of just a little more heat, water boils!

So I find myself asking what might happen if I were to bring that extra little bit to my flight? What is possible if I’m able to find that last little bit of energy? I wonder what kind of magic might happen. How would it change the way my passengers experience the flight?

My imagination tells me that in that transition from 211 degrees to 212, my passengers are no longer just flying from point A to point B. When the water boils, again, in my imagination, the flight might actually become an extraordinary experience.

And now, thanks to 45 minutes of walking in The Meadow of Wisdom, I have a new ambition.

Which leads to a few questions for you to consider as you start your day. First, have you recognized that there’s a place/time/condition in which you have your best ideas? Can you reproduce that? And then… what would it look like if you were able to take what you do from 211 degrees to 212? What sort of magic might occur? What kind of extraordinary experience could you create?

Let me know what you come up with. This could be good!

Thanks for reading.

Captain Mark

Link to Mark’s book, The Symphony of Your Life

The Symphony of Your Life    

The Symphony of Your Life on YouTube

Mark graduated from the USAF Academy in 1982. After nine years as a pilot on active duty, he left the military to join a commercial airline. In addition to flying B-737s around the country, Hardcastle spends time in the Rocky Mountains and serves on the artistic staff of the Colorado Children’s Chorale. He lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his wife and four children. Need some help figuring out why you’re on this planet? Want to talk about discovering your mission and purpose? Contact Mark today at 720.840.8361 to schedule a free personal consultation. He can also deliver an inspirational keynote or workshop for your organization! email: mark@symphonyofyourlife.com for information.

Posted in Inspiration, Motivation, UncategorizedTagged BeingUnited, CaptainsLog, determination, how, inspiration, NewWorld, perseverance, PostCovid, purpose, StayInTheProcess, StepOverTheBar, symphonyofyourlife, TheSymphonyofYourLife, United, WeAreUnited

Perspective Affects Perception – Why I Am Thankful, Again

A Symphony of Your Life Blog With Captain Mark Hardcastle

Part One: December 2013.

Captain’s Log: I’m so thankful to be living in the 21st Century! What I’m about to write would not have been possible a decade ago, let alone in any other century.

I’m sitting in a hotel in Houston on a layover, listening to my kids in the Colorado Children’s Chorale sing “Velvet Shoes” by Randall Thompson as recorded at our concert last weekend. The concert was in Boettcher Hall, the municipal concert venue for downtown Denver. It’s being broadcast tonight by Colorado Public Radio. None of this is particularly remarkable.

The 21st-century part is that the concert recording is streaming in real time as part of the radio broadcast from Colorado Public Radio over the internet. In a minute they’ll sing “There Will Be Rest”, a poem by Sarah Teasdale, set to music by Daniel Kallman. Then a few moments later I’ll get to listen to Cameron sing “Balulalow” again. Merry Christmas, World, from the perspective of 2013.

Part Two: July 2020

Captain’s Log: Today a short hop from San Antonio to Houston, then deadhead home to Denver as a passenger.

This morning the Captain is out for a wander around the working-class neighborhood near his layover hotel, as he often does. He’s appreciating the working-class architecture displaying pride-of-ownership to varying degrees as with any neighborhood; lawns filled with the St. Augustine grass so common in the south. It’s hot in San Antonio. Forecast high will be 105 degrees Fahrenheit. That doesn’t stop the cicada chatter that surrounds him. https://drive.google.com/…/1uPY7znXkZdRYXAXtfe2…/view…

A flash of red catches his eye and his heart is lifted by the sight of a female cardinal, the first he’s seen in many years, her head and breast bright red, her wings and tail dusky as is the way of the female bird. All of these things take him back to his childhood and remind him of the tall trees and green grass, the dogwoods and azaleas he so loved growing up in Georgia. And he misses them.

His way then takes him by a neighborhood grocery store, the outdoor display by the entrance piled high with bags of ant killer specifically formulated to target fire ants. And he remembers again. Those fire ants. The mosquitoes. Chiggers, for heaven’s sake. Those things he does not miss. And just that fast he is content again to live in Denver.

Perspective. It’s a thing.

Captain Mark

Link to Mark’s book, The Symphony of Your Life

The Symphony of Your Life    

The Symphony of Your Life on YouTube

Mark graduated from the USAF Academy in 1982. After nine years as a pilot on active duty, he left the military to join a commercial airline. In addition to flying B-737s around the country, Hardcastle spends time in the Rocky Mountains and serves on the artistic staff of the Colorado Children’s Chorale. He lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his wife and four children. Need some help figuring out why you’re on this planet? Want to talk about discovering your mission and purpose? Contact Mark today at 720.840.8361 to schedule a free personal consultation. He can also deliver an inspirational keynote or workshop for your organization! email: mark@symphonyofyourlife.com for information.

Posted in Inspiration, Motivation, UncategorizedTagged BeingUnited, CaptainsLog, determination, how, inspiration, NewWorld, perseverance, PostCovid, purpose, StayInTheProcess, StepOverTheBar, symphonyofyourlife, TheSymphonyofYourLife, United, WeAreUnited