Exercising Our Flying Muscles

January 23rd, 2023 in Blog

If we want to improve our fitness, we naturally take up exercise. The more practise we get, the more we tone our muscles. In the same way, we have found that there are muscles that helps us fly.

Our ‘flying muscles’ are invisible and we cannot see or touch them, which makes it harder to see if we are making progress.

In our research coaching leaders over the last 20 years, it is clear that these ‘flying muscles’ seem to make the biggest difference to our ability to fly,  the more aware we are of them, the more possible it will be to learn to fly and support our children to do the same. In addition, each of us might identify unique ones that are particularly important for us.

Each of our ‘flying muscles’ relates to a stone in our stone stack:


Curiosity – Our ‘curiosity’ muscle encourages us to explore, learn more and always be a work in progress. Instead of starting from a place of being right, it keeps us open and collaborative, stopping us from being judgemental.

It helps us question the assumptions that might be holding us back that are untrue and uncover new thinking and ideas that give us permission to be ourselves and fly.


Choice – Our choice muscle allows us to be more in control of what happens to us. It’s about thinking before we act and being responsible for our actions. We can always choose how we respond to others, events and to our thoughts. When we exercise our choice muscle, we are much more engaged in the actions we take because we realise it is our choice and this inspires us to fly.

Let Go

Not knowing – Our ‘not knowing’ muscle encourages us to lead from the heart, not the head. It encourages us to lean into fears and overcome feelings of discomfort. It allows us to listen to our internal GPS, that tiny voice in our heads that knows us best.

When we don’t know, anything is possible, and this feeling invites us  us to take off and fly.

This muscle encourages us to stay open and present. We can let go of our preferences and attachments, even our fears and keep an open mind. It’s the launchpad for learning and it will help us take risks, leaps of faith and enjoy the journey.


 Self-Discipline – Our self-discipline muscle keeps us in the game. It helps us be consistent in our habits and keep showing up when it feels difficult and pointless. It is about doing what we said, making difficult choices and following through on our commitments. It is only by staying in the game that we learn to fly and find our cruising altitude


Acceptance – Our acceptance muscle allows us to let go of things that might stop us flying. It stops us entering a downward spiral of frustration, trying to change something that cannot be changed and it gives us permission to go with the flow and move on.


Which of these muscles is particularly important to you now?

If you could only exercise one of them, which would you choose?

In addition to the ones above, there are numerous other muscles that will help us learn to fly. There might be ones that are unique to you some of the time, for example, the one that is important to me at the moment is light-heartedness.

What is a unique muscle for your children?

This is a muscle you can see it would be great for them to exercise more.

For ideas on how to exercise each of these muscles, download our free flying muscles tool

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