thomas-wilk

Keep pushing outside your comfort zone, at the plant or on vacation

Aug. 17, 2021
Thomas Wilk says there’s a world waiting for us beyond this year’s emotional roller coaster.

This editor’s note is being filed from the road – Cincinnati, OH to be specific. My family snuck away from Plant Services HQ for a few days to take a real live vacation for the first time in more than three years.

It’s not an epic road trip, like the time in 2016 when my wife and I took our boys on a drive from Chicago to Mount Rushmore and back. The oldest was 5 and the twins were almost 3, and that was an adventure, let me tell you. Heck, all three boys were still calling it “Round Mushmore” back then.

Our family deliberately skipped a vacation in 2019, then like many people we unwillingly skipped one in 2020. Now here we are, like Willie Nelson says, on the road again and visiting the Queen City for three days, then spending three more in Louisville, KY.

Today’s highlight included a visit to Kings Island, and my wife and I got to watch as aspects of our boys’ personalities emerged that we hadn’t seen before. In particular, this was their first time ever riding roller coasters. For the past few weeks our oldest has been very excited, talking all the time about riding The Beast, a mile-long wooden coaster that was state-of-the-art when it opened 40 years ago and which still packs a huge punch. His twin brothers were much more reserved, mostly muttering under their breath about hoping they would survive the day.

You can probably guess what happened. The 10-year-old was so rattled that he spent the rest of the afternoon silently processing what happened to him, while both of his little brothers kept babbling to go on again. Our youngest completely came out of his shell, raising both his hands on The Beast and taunting the other train on The Racer.

About the Author: Thomas Wilk
Thomas Wilk joined Plant Services as editor in chief in 2014. Previously, Wilk was content strategist / mobile media manager at Panduit. Prior to Panduit, Tom was lead editor for Battelle Memorial Institute's Environmental Restoration team, and taught business and technical writing at Ohio State University for eight years. Tom holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from Ohio State University.

So what does a 7-year-old yelling “The Red Train is the LOSER train!” have to do with Plant Services? That same kid is a huge introvert, and being away from home and trying something new has brought out a cool new dimension to his personality.

How many of us who are introverts have had to be pushed into a situation that brought out the best in us? How many of us were the ones who did most of our own pushing?

On my desk I keep a quote attributed to John A. Shedd: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” It’s an attitude that Lori Ditoro captures this month in her article on getting back into the swing of business and event travel, especially for introverts who might have liked to stay home a little longer. It’s what Captain Unreliability articulated so well in his column about introversion when the pandemic first hit. It’s a reminder to keep pushing outside our comfort zone, to engage with the world and to do our best to add positively to it.

Our oldest quietly opened up near dinnertime that he thought The Beast was a pretty fun ride. But he’s decided to save the 300-ft Orion giga-coaster for another day. One step at a time.

This story originally appeared in the August 2021 issue of Plant Services. Subscribe to Plant Services here.

From the Editor

This article is part of our monthly From the Editor column. Read more from Thomas Wilk.

About the Author

Thomas Wilk | editor in chief

Thomas Wilk joined Plant Services as editor in chief in 2014. Previously, Wilk was content strategist / mobile media manager at Panduit. Prior to Panduit, Tom was lead editor for Battelle Memorial Institute's Environmental Restoration team, and taught business and technical writing at Ohio State University for eight years. Tom holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from Ohio State University

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