Flying Solo With 7 Simple Words

I flew an airplane solo for the first time on my 16th birthday.

Over the past 10 months I had taken many flying lessons. As a student pilot, my goal was to solo on my birthday. I flew each of the two days prior to my birthday on July 16th.

Those were not good days.

— One Day Earlier —

July 15th, 1989: As I bounced the plane down the runway seeking a smooth landing, my flight instructor grimaced and groaned from being jolted about in the small cockpit. “Mike Alpha,” our resilient single-engine Piper Warrior airplane, endured the beating in silence. Just part of the process of teaching teenagers how to fly.

With only a few hours remaining to reach my goal of soloing, my flight instructor’s 7 simple words echoed through my mind:

“Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.”

I knew that I had not planned properly for these flights. My landings were proof.

So I gathered my thoughts, reviewed my books, visualized myself landing smoothly, and experienced flying solo in my mind. I heard the roar of the engine, felt the plane lift off the ground, and sank into the pilot’s seat as I made the left hand turn in the pattern. Every landing I made was textbook.

Now if I could just do in real life what I could do in my mind…

July 16th, 1989: Friday morning everything changed. The day was beautifully clear with no wind.

After two touch-and-go landings that could have been used for training videos, my flight instructor had me taxi off the runway and stop. He looked at me and said 7 simple words that I’ll remember till the day I die:

“I think I’ll sit this one out.”

Adrenaline, excitement, and fear rushed through my body. As he stepped out of the plane and closed the door, I was, for the first time, all alone and in full control of Mike Alpha. The time had come.

The flight was memorable, as was the post-flight custom of writing the date on the back of my shirt, then cutting it off my back to be framed.

On my 16th birthday, I achieved my goal by remembering 7 simple words.

We all have goals we’re striving to achieve. So you too can adhere to the advice of my flight instructor: remember that Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance. “P to the 7th”, he called it. It’s a memorable alliteration that I’ve carried with me for over 3 decades.

Paul J. Meyer is known as the founder of the motivation industry. Here is his Success Formula, which ties nicely in to the 7 simple words of my flight instructor:

  1. Crystalize Your Thinking
  2. Develop a Plan for Achieving Your Goal and a Deadline for its Attainment
  3. Develop a Sincere Desire for the Things You Want in Life
  4. Develop Supreme Confidence in Yourself and Your Own Abilities
  5. Develop a Dogged Determination to Follow Through on Your Plan

Then, construct your determination with sustained effort, controlled attention and concentrated energy.

As you make your approach to 2016, be sure to Plan Properly – Prior to Performing – so that you will avoid a Pitifully Poor Performance. When you go back to the basics, review your plan and focus your attention, you will achieve your objective and land your plane as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Remember these 7 Simple Words as you plan your marketing, operate your business, and make your dreams come true.

Have a safe flight!

Are You Up For Changing How You Communicate?

When I formed at Xerox years ago, we all alternate in a corporate-wide agent achievement survey. Of course, one big aspect was appraisement your administrator on how able-bodied he (or in my case, she) announced with us. Sure, they acclimated questions like “How generally does your administrator accumulate you informed?” “How finer does your administrator accord you feedback?” and my claimed favorite, “How able-bodied does your administrator appearance acceptance for your work?” All basal advice elements.

The analysis process, as you can able-bodied imagine, appropriate that the administrator getting advised to advance an activity plan for any breadth acute improvement. Well, my bang-up was absolutely artistic in that respect. She absitively that we, the aggregation that had accustomed her low scores, should appear up with the antidotal activity that she should do.

While we were adjoin the idea, our administrator prevailed and so we sat down and put our artistic accuracy together.

Our bigger affair was not getting “recognized” if we had done something well. Our job basic autograph reports, controlling belletrist and training manuals. But we never knew if she anticipation they were acceptable enough. There was no absolute feedback.

We knew her personality was not able to verbally say “good job” so we came up with a “smiley face” approach. We bought her a set of elastic stamps and an ink pad and “required” her to column a smiley face on any abstracts aces of her praise.

It worked!!

The joy of seeing a banking spreadsheet address or an centralized ascendancy letter appear aback to us (even with all the edits she wanted) aloft our assurance and fabricated our day!

Our Advice Needs Accept Not Changed

Things change… which is good, even great. And how we acquaint – what cars we use, the phrases we say, the abundance we appoint account does morph over time. But some things never change such as our charge as animal beings to be announced with (and to be listened to). And we all wish and charge that little blow of a quick praise, a “good job”… to break energized, artistic and productive.

We accept a admiring for able communications… to be heard, to accept our account considered, to be accustomed if we appear up with something great.

We wish an ambiance that is accessible and honest, area humans actively accept to us, and area we feel included. We advance in an ambiance of alternate respect.

Can You Say It in 140 Characters?

Twitter has set the bar for able communications in the accepted climate. It’s short, crisp, to the point. It’s common and ubiquitous. It’s accessible and aggregate with everyone.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all advice be a Tweet… or even attending like one. Far from it. But with the abode acceptable added and added multi-generational, able advice requires paying absorption to the abstraction that beneath is better. Micro acquirements is acceptable popular. Texting instead of email or buzz calls tends to accomplish requests and statements briefer.

But be careful. With this brevity, comes the absence of words, abuse of face to face encounters and the abrupt phrases which can, on one hand, access productivity… or on the other, could cause alienation.

How do we ensure our communications is positive? It all comes down to canonizing the altruism in the picture. That’s why you generally see a agenda smiley face now… even in the accumulated workplace. It’s a assurance of friendliness, optimism and well-meaning. It can even be acclimated as a quick praise.

What can you do as leaders? If anyone sends you information, instead of agilely accepting it, acknowledge with a “thumbs up”. It will do wonders for morale. Getting admiring never hurts, and consistently helps. Remember we are all animal aboriginal and foremost. Attending for opportunities to say, “I Like It”, “Crazy Good” or “Two Thumbs Up”.