What learning to fly taught me about handling adversity

By Rand O’Leary

When everything seems to be going against you, remember the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it, Henry Ford. 

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Ask any pilot if they remember the first time they flew the airplane alone. And you’ll get a resounding yes!  The solo flight is a milestone in each pilot’s life, it’s the time when preparation and opportunity all come together.  You are alone in the airplane, no instructor by your side correcting mistakes, keeping you safe, it’s all up to you.

Although my solo was over 20 years ago, I remember it as though it were yesterday.  The weather, the sounds of the engine and the wheels rolling down the runway.  But what I remember the most about that day is looking over to my right and seeing that empty seat next to me, knowing I was completely responsible for returning this aircraft safely to the ground, intact.

Whether your piloting an aircraft, an organization or a team, how you face and ultimately handle adversity will largely determine your success or failure.  What my instructor taught me long ago was a simple lesson, the goal for each flight is for takeoffs to equal landings, what happens in between is up to you and will determines your success in achieving this goal.

What I’ve learned in achieving that seemingly simple goal is that preparation is the key to success, in business and in life.  Becoming a pilot was challenging, but also taught me a method of problem-solving, a calm analytical approach to decision making that works, and it starts with the basics: Read the Full Article.