Wing and a Prayer – Day 141 of 365 Days to a Better You

When opportunity knocks, say yes.

Sometimes you achieve amazing things you never set out to achieve. Good things can come from surprising places.

May 21, 1932 Amelia Earhart became the second person and the first woman to fly a plane solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Though she planned to land in Paris on the five year anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s historic achievement, mechanical issues and 15 hours of storms over the North Atlantic forced her down in Londonberry, Northern Ireland.

Her landing in a farm field was later described as scattering cows. She was greeted by a worker on the farm named Dan McCallion. McCallion asked, “Have you flown far?” Earhart replied, “From America.”

Earhart’s achievement was not one she sought. After Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic in 1927, a wealthy steel heiress named Amy Phipps Guest was determined to prove that a woman could equal the feat. Phipps was not a pilot, but wanted to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. She hired two pilots, but eventually abandoned the idea because her family frowned on the plan. Instead, she began interviewing women with flying experience to take her place. She interviewed a young Kansas social worker living in Boston and chose Amelia Earhart to make the trip. Though Earhart was technically in command of the mission, the two male pilots completed the flight in 1928.

Earhart was dubbed “Lady Lindy” by the media, but she reminded them she had not piloted the plane, saying, “Maybe someday, I’ll try it alone.”

Her celebrity from 1928 flight earned her a job as editor at Cosmopolitan Magazine, a platform she used to promote the growing field of aviation. She also trained extensively as a pilot in preparation for her eventual attempt to cross the Atlantic. She became the first woman to fly across the North American continent and back.

In the four years between 1928 and 1932, many men and a few women attempted to match Lindbergh. All failed. Ruth Nichols was poised to make another attempt and this pushed Earhart to accelerate her plans. The rest, as they say, is history.

Power Hack: Sometimes life presents us with unplanned opportunities. Despite her flying experience, Earhart was in Boston working and trying to get an education. A transoceanic flight was not on her radar. Circumstances, preparation, and good fortune came together to make history.

The big lesson for us is when opportunity knocks, be at home, answer the door, and say, “Yes.” If the challenge seems too great, imagine hanging above the stormy North Atlantic, kept aloft by a single propeller, two wings, and a prayer.

Stay inspired, my friends, and thanks for taking a few minutes from your valuable day to read the blog.


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