We all want to be successful. Volumes have been written on the subject. Courses and Seminars abound on the subject. Yet the amazing truth is there is a simple 6 step formula anyone can follow that leads to success in any endeavor.
Here they are:
- Know where you are.
- Know where you want to go.
- Take action
- Evaluate the results.
- Adjust the action taken in light of the feedback obtained in step 4
- Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 until you achieve success.
“Oh come on!” I hear you say. “It can’t be that easy.”
Wait…I didn’t say it was easy. I just said it was simple.
Let’s break it down.
Steps 1 and 2
I think steps 1 and 2 should be taken together. And…not necessarily in order.
In my experience, most people choose “Know where you want to go” first. This your goal. It can be big or small, business or personal, but this is what you want. It’s the reason for going through this whole process. If you are doing this for the first time, I suggest you choose a small goal to try the process out to prove it works.
Go ahead. Pick a goal. Now.
Write it down.
Before we leave this step, let’s make sure we know what success looks like.
You should state your goal in the positive as if it were already achieved. It should have a completion date. It should be very specific. So specific that if I called you on the completion date and asked you, “Did you achieve the goal?” your answer could only be “Yes” or “No”.
Let’s say you wanted to learn how to fly. Your goal could be, “By December 31st of this year, I have obtained my private pilots license.”
Now, let’s go back to step one: Know where you are.
Knowing where you are is the starting point. Once you can compare that to where you want to go, then the action steps will begin to appear.
Where are you? Let’s develop a list based on the goal of learning to fly.
1. Where do you live? Where is the nearest airport that has an FBO (Fixed Base Operator) where you can learn how to fly?
2. How old are you? You must be 17 to get a private pilots license. There is no upper age limit as long as you can pass the physical.
3. Are you physically fit? You have to get a 3rd class medical certificate from an FAA Certified Flight Surgeon. This is usually not an issue as long as you do not have a physical condition that would prevent you from safely operating an aircraft.
4. Do you have the time to devote to obtaining your license? Time is an issue. You must have at least 40 hours of flight time. However most students need more to become proficient enough to pass the test. Figure at least 60 hours to be sure. Plus, there is travel time to the airfield, and ground school. There is also study time on your own. You will probably spend 3 hours studying for every hour of flight time. Total study time…180 hours.
5. Do you have the financial resources to accomplish your goal? This is the big one. Here is a break down of what you can expect:*
- Aircraft Rental. 60 hours in a Cessna 150 at $90/hour. $5,400.
- Instructor. 40 hours at $45/hour. $1,800
- Materials and Exam fees. $600.
- Flight Test Aircraft Rental. $135
- Aircraft Renters Insurance. $350. (You need this. You don’t want to be responsible for a $30,000 airplane if you make a bad landing)
- Grand Total? $8,285
*Note: These rates are estimates and will vary based on aircraft type, fuel cost, local instructor rates, and area of the country.
I want to pause just a moment to apologize. If you have no interest in learning how to fly, this list is boring you to tears. I went through it for a reason. Your goal can be fuzzy. If you’ve never done it before, you can’t know all the components of achieving it. But, you must be completely honest with yourself about where you are now! Failing to do this may doom you from the start.
Steps 3 and 4
Step 3 is take action. Now we are getting somewhere.
Let’s go back to learning how to fly.
The first logical action step would be to call the FBO at the nearby airfield you found and ask about flight instruction. Most FBO’s offer an introductory flight, either for free or a reasonable cost. On this flight, you will spend an hour in the air with a flight instructor, learning a few basic maneuvers to see if this is for you.
Action step #1: You go take the flight.
Step 4. Evaluate the results.
Did you enjoy it? Or, were you motion sick and on the verge of vomiting most of the time?
If you were motion sick, then you may decide this is not for you. If so, you can abandon this goal, and save yourself a lot of time and money.
Let’s say you loved it. You are so excited you can’t wait to get back in the air again.
Step 5 is to adjust your actions based on the evaluation of the action taken in step 4.
You loved the flight. You like the instructor and feel you can learn a lot from him or her.
Based on that, your next step is to sign up for the course.
Step 6 is to keep repeating steps 3, 4, and 5 until you are successful.
I have a couple of points here:
1. You don’t need to plan too far in advance. If you were accurate in your self assessment in steps 1 & 2, action steps will appear in natural order. If you plan too far in advance, you risk losing the flexibility to adjust when things go wrong.
2. Keep it simple. As humans, our minds try to make things complicated and constantly look for trouble. The key is to focus on what you want. Obstacles will appear. When they do, ask yourself the magic question, “How can I (insert here the obstacle you want to overcome).
Going back to learning how to fly:
- Action Step: Get the training manuals and start studying
- Evaluation: You find the material interesting and not too difficult.
- Action Step: Take the ground school test.
- Action Step: Start flying with instructor- learn basic maneuvers.
- Evaluation: Some maneuvers are easy, some are more difficult.
- Action step: More practice on the difficult maneuvers.
You can’t fail. Yes, things will go wrong. Yes, you will make mistakes. But every mishap, every mistake, gives you feedback you can use to adjust your next action. Keep going, and you will succeed. The only way you can fail is by quitting.
Remember, Thomas Edison ran more than 10,000 experiments before he found the material to use for the filament in the incandescent light bulb. That’s persistence.
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