A first-year student walked into my office on the verge of tears. Anxiety? Maybe. Fear? Not Exactly.Failure? Absolutely Not. Uncertainty? Ok, let's work with that one. It just so happened that this student overslept for the first exam of her college career as a result of pulling an "all-nighter". Thus, her fate (at that time) was hanging in the balance in her mind. As she explained the rest of her story to me the coach, father, big brother, and godfather roles all kicked into gear. The coach tried to motivate, the father attemped comfort, the big brother asked questions, then the godfather made her an offer that she couldn't refuse. I simply asked her if she wanted me to walk with her to the professor's office. Without hesitation she replied"please & thank you".
We arrived at the building moments later only to find that the professor was not in his office. As she prepared to leave a note under his door, her professor rounds the corner. Thus, her impromptu speech had no note cards and an audience of 1. As she started her speech, I simply faded into the distance and let her negotiate the deal. Ultimately, her professor allowed her to take her exam. Often times wingmen are heralded for their solidaritous acts, but the reality is that great wingmen are truly a reflection of the great leaders they support. She went in, asked for what she wanted and she received it because of who she is, not because of me. Why? I simply abide by the creed of a wingman.
The creed of a wingman is as follows:
- A wingman passes no judgement
- A wingman proudly flies on the shoulder of the lead pilot while pushing those in front to keep the lead
- A wingman is more effective being seen and not heard
- A wingman never asks for credit
- A wingman never leaves unless the lead pilot has enough fuel & ammunition to complete the mission