Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

  1. Share
0 0

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know it was four days ago but it’s one of my favorite holidays so I’m extending it a little longer in this blog.


I hope your holiday was shared with loved ones and friends. In my house it’s a special day to have a fire, drink coffee, watch parades, eat donuts, turkey/ham and tons of sides. We are sharing laughter, hugs, playing and watching football. Heck, some of us even squeeze a nap in when no one is watching.


Some of your family or perhaps you had to travel in order to be with family or friends for Thanksgiving. I have traveled in the past and some of those trips were filled with non-stop travel headaches. If you have read any of my blogs, then you know I am a huge movie guy. There is one film that makes me laugh every time as I watch the travel disasters unfold for Steve Martin (Neal Page) as he tries to make his way home for Thanksgiving. I am talking about John Hughes’s 1987 movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles.



Why is this movie so popular? I think people can relate to the movie for several reasons:

  1. Travel Is Not Glorious
  2. Maintaining A Positive Attitude Is Not Easy
  3. Life Is Always Easier With Someone

AND this movie is hilarious!!!


Travel Is Not Glorious

If you travel for work, then you know what it means to have your travel plans interrupted because of weather and broken transportation vehicles. These two variables can disrupt your schedule and leave you in a huge mess trying to find a new way to get to your destination location. I’ve slept in airports, shared vehicles with strangers, changed tires on the side of the road and stayed in some very sketchy hotels to avoid sleeping in my car. The movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles does a fantastic job showing how a simple plan to fly home from a business trip for Thanksgiving can be completely hijacked. The movie does an awesome job on showing how some stay calm, others freak out and everyone is trying to find alternate ways to get home. I think this movie really hits home for me because of my dad. He traveled 50% of the time and had so many stories when he got home. He would sometimes arrive in the middle of the night after jumping on multiple planes or renting a car. My Dad jumped through tons of hoops so he could be at every important event for my sister and me. When I watch Steve Martin’s passion to get home to his family, it reminds me of my dad. I know many of us make tons of sacrifices to have a career, and most of our families have no idea how hard it really is to make it all work when traveling. We travel so we can do our jobs and we grab the red eye home so we can be there for our loved ones. Trust me, your family will always remember you being there for them. I know I still do!


Maintaining A Positive Attitude Is Not Easy

I know we are supposed to have a good attitude as leaders but it’s REALLY hard to do when problems keep coming from all angles. The movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles show how Steve Martin’s character, Neil Page, becomes more and more unraveled during his travel trials. Throughout the journey, Steve Martin finds himself being paired up with John Candy (Del). These two are total opposites. Have you ever been paired up with someone that makes you cringe? If they are sitting next to you, don’t head nod! The two characters are forced to work together and trust each other. Together they actually do make a good team and somehow even build a friendship.



This movie shows how working through a difficult situation can truly test your patience and even cause you to lose your filters. I’ve been there and nothing makes my blood boil more than someone who provides poor customer service. There is one scene in the movie where Steve Martin is trying to rent a car for the second time since his first rental was stolen. He is left in the middle of nowhere where he has to walk all the way back to the airport terminal. He finally arrives and the lady behind the car rental counter is on the phone talking to her sister about getting together for Thanksgiving. At this point of the movie, Steve Martin has been through a lot and he has lost all of his filters. The language is very extreme in this scene but captures the moment of him losing his mind because of the stress. I have never had this moment, out loud, but I am guilty as well of losing it during a stressful situation. I am not going to act like it’s easy to maintain a positive attitude during a stressful one but try your best. People are watching and you don’t want to be that person who regrets their behavior because the moment fogged your judgement. You will be tested and I think you can still correct poor customer service when it happens but don’t ruin your reputation while doing it.


Life Is Always Easier With Someone

During this movie, Steve Martin is trying his best to get home but he keeps hitting roadblocks. The one person who keeps trying to help him is John Candy, Del. These two are opposites in every way but they keep finding ways to work together. There are many awkward and stressful moments during their journey that make this movie hilarious every time I watch it. There is no way this can really happen in life, right? You bet it can! I once was traveling in college to New York for internship interviews with a group of students. We got paired up with a roommate since New York hotels are very expensive. When my roommate and I got to our room we discovered there was only one bed. I didn’t really care till we went to bed and he got in with only his tighty-whiteys. I went to bed that night thinking about this movie and the hilarious scene where Steve Martin & John Candy shared a bed. The famous wakeup scene with the words “Those aren’t pillows!” I didn’t have that happen but I thought for sure it might.



In the end, both Steve Martin & John Candy learned what it meant to go through a trial with someone else. Life is hard and no one should have to do it alone. I’m very grateful for the friendships and family who been there for me as life has thrown some serious curve balls. I know it might feel easier to do life alone but it’s a lie. I know others can stress you out especially when the circumstances keep changing for the worse. Remember to attack the problem not the people trying to help you. We all need to take time to show love, respect and kindness to those who are trying to help us during a difficult situation.


In conclusion, watch this movie and try to take it all in for the good life lessons taught. No one is perfect and we all are trying to conquer the foreseen obstacles that hit us from time to time. We believe at the Impact of Leadership that business leaders need a safe place to share their stress so they can feel supported by others.


You are not alone!



Hire us to speak at your next event

Check out our library of 125+ podcasts aid in your growth as a leader!

Go to our YouTube and LinkedIn pages for more encouraging content.  

Community tags

This content has 0 tags that match your profile.


To leave a comment, login or sign up.

Related Content

Happy New Year. Now Fire Yourself!
My dad taught me that it’s important to fire yourself at the end of the year, wait 10 seconds, soak up that horrible feeling, and then rehire yourself. Why in the world would my dad tell me to do this each year?   Give yourself a scare and new outlook. It’s better to pretend to fire yourself before it happens for real. Now strategize! What would you do differently if you were fired and rehired for the same job? You can’t grow to greater success if you don’t look at your failures and change them.   Yes, my dad could have been a Jedi Knight because he motivated himself and others through mind games. Most of those mind games made him and others extremely successful. I thought he was crazy when I was younger. Now I try to do everything he taught me.   It’s better to pretend to fire yourself before it happens for real.   When people get comfortable, they can become lazy, which can lead to poor results. Poor results can eventually lead to one being fired. Don’t wait for that awkward and regrettable moment. I’ve never met anyone that enjoys losing. Go ahead and make that awkward firing moment happen on your terms. Write yourself a termination letter and put reasons behind it. Punch yourself in the gut(words not literally) and make it hurt so you can learn.   What would you do differently if you were fired and rehired for the same job?   It’s so important to motivate yourself to think about new strategies to prevent becoming comfortable. You want to drive in better results every year, but you don’t change anything. How is that working for you? Nothing changes if nothing changes! If you had a record-breaking year…good for you…now get over it. No one cares what you did yesterday, last year, or five years ago. Business is about what you produce month-over-month and year-over-year. People don’t get fired because they are growing. People get fired when they get lazy or stop taking initiative to learn. How can you continue to push yourself to prove to everyone you are not playing it safe? What must you do to grow your success?   ACTION ITEM: Take 15 minutes and make a strategic list. Make sure you put these strategies into practice by putting each one on your calendar.   You can’t grow to greater success if you don’t look at your failures and change them.   No Time Management Your day is chaos. You feel no control in your day. You feel like nothing ever gets done that you want. Poor Communication You hold people to expectations that you did not share with them. People don’t live in your head. Use your words! No routine Schedule your work duties, and don’t get distracted. Give yourself time to think. Make sure to take PTO and recharge your batteries. Boring Meetings No one is excited to be there. No conflict. Watching the minutes for it to end. Talk Too Much – Poor Listening Don’t dominate the conversation. Make sure you shut your mouth and open your ears to hear what others have to say. Show respect to others by listening. Too Many Excuses For Missing Deadlines Nothing is worse than a boss demanding deadlines but the boss lives by double standards. Get your work finished on time. Set the bar with your actions. No Humility Say the words “I’m sorry!” and “It’s my fault!” No one wants to follow a leader who is arrogant and full of pride. Lack of Passion Zap your heart and get excited about your work. No one wants to follow someone who is lukewarm or passive. No Accountability You need someone who will speak TRUTH into you. Make sure to ask others how you are doing and listen to their advice. Broken Trust With Failed Promises Let your YES be YES and your NO be NO. Follow through on your commitments, and show up in mind, body and spirit when you arrive. Need more?  Book us to speak at your next event, and we’ll light it up! Check out our YouTube and LinkedIn pages for more encouraging content.   If you’re looking to take your growth as a leader to the next level, we’ve got you covered. Join the Impact of Leadership Community today!
Strengthen Your Team’s Communication With DISC
Imagine this situation, a meeting is called to discuss goals for the next quarter. The meeting is scheduled to start at 9am in the main conference room. The first person to arrive 10 minutes early is Dwight. He proudly says out loud to himself “Time is money! If you aren’t 10 minutes early, then you are late!”   Next to arrive is Jan who is 5 minutes early. She looks at Dwight and says, “Where is everyone? I need this meeting to start and end on time. I have a lot to get done today!” They both gave each other a frustrated look and let out a deep sigh.   Coming in exactly at 9am is Jim who is carrying a stack of handouts. Jim says to Dwight and Jan, while passing out his handouts, “I did a lot of research and I have come up with an entire process that will streamline our purchasing which will save us time & money. Look at the charts on pages 3 & 4. This is great stuff!”    At 9:03am walks in Erin who immediately says “I’m so sorry for not being here earlier. I was in the breakroom, and I ran into Kelly who was telling me about her breakup with her boyfriend this weekend. I wanted to hear her story, but I also wanted to be on time. I’m really sorry! I’ll bring in breakfast treats tomorrow. Is that okay?!”   Dwight looked up and said “Did you say something Erin? I was checking my email. I got my email from 25 unread to 3…BOOM!”   Jan chimes in and says “Hey! Where is Michael? Didn’t he schedule this meeting?!”   The door opens at 9:07am and walks in Michael with donuts and balloons. He says “It’s Monday and it’s time to paaaaarrrrrty!” Jan says “I thought we were starting at 9am!” Michael looks at his watch with a confused face, “I thought we were starting at 9:15am, I guess I didn’t look at the invite correctly. Huh. Anyways, did anyone see the new show on FOX last night? Oh my gosh! It was amazing!”   For the next 10 minutes Michael goes on talking about the show he watched last night was amazing and explaining every detail he enjoyed.   Dwight  cuts Michael off and asks, “Can we get the meeting going? I have a hard stop at 10am for another meeting.”   The meeting finally got going and it was bumpy. There was no clear agenda, but some good ideas did get shared. However, there was no clear direction at the end on who was doing what, when it had to be completed and how would they know the goal was reached.   Ever have a meeting like this? I hope not but maybe some similar things got you to laugh a little. That was 100% made up but I hope you can see that each person in the meeting brought a unique personality to it. Why can’t everyone just have the same personality, am I right? Well, that would be so boring, and your team would suffer because you need a diverse team to thrive. Our company has used the DISC assessment to help us understand WHY each personality is different and how we can work better together as a team with DISC.   Dwight and Jan are your D’s in the room –  People with D personalities tend to be confident and place an emphasis on accomplishing bottom-line results. Having meetings start and end on time is ideal with a clear agenda. They tend to solve new problems very quickly and assertively. They take an active and direct approach to obtaining results.   Michael was the I in the room - People with I personalities tend to be more open and place an emphasis on relationships and influencing or persuading others. Having fun and telling stories is what fills their cup. They can be a bit impulsive and have tons of new ideas.   Erin was the S in the room - People with S personalities tend to be dependable and place the emphasis on cooperation and sincerity. They want to be sure everyone feels included and does not want to disappoint others. They are very loyal and have excellent listening skills.    Jim was the C in the room - People with C personalities tend to place the emphasis on quality, accuracy, expertise, and competency. They want to understand WHY and HOW to the whole process. More information the better AND stick to the defined process.     Why does DISC help your team communicate better?   It brings SELF-AWARENESS – You  will understand how you think, how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what annoys you and how you work through problems. It gives you words, definitions, and insights to share with others. DISC can help others understand how you think, work and win.   It helps gives CLARITY – For a long time I wanted others to imitate my behavior so I could feel confident we were on the same page for a meeting. I learned that each personality has their own response which can be very different from mine and still be in sync with me. You don't know how what others are thinking but this does give good insights on why each person responds differently.    It helps you MANAGE better – It’s important to not annoy your team by leading in a way that brings frustrations to them. You can understand how each person on your team responds by learning their motivations and their ideal job that helps their natural abilities to shine. It also helps your team understand why you lead the way you do.    It helps you TRANSFORM conflict into collaboration – Understanding how the person you are working with is wired will change everything if you use this information. Mirroring each other is not the best way to avoid conflict. You need to embrace your differences and use those traits to complement each other. Don’t try to change someone but use this information to help you relationships thrive by working well together.     There are a lot of resources when it comes to DISC so choose the one best for you. A few things I would recommend:   Have each employee take a DISC profile test and let them study their own profile. Share the DISC results with each other to learn and understand where each person falls on DISC. Discuss as a team how the DISC profile gave new insights on how to work with each other. Transform your meetings to be more effective by understanding each other's DISC. Make DISC be a key part of your communication. Make it easy and visible for your team to see often.    *JOIN US FOR A LIVE EVENT ON FEBRUARY 9TH* Resilient Leadership: Leadership in Uncharted Territory With guest speaker Tod Bolsinger! Register HERE Use discount code: MEMBER23 for 15% off registration