Ready For Takeoff - Turn Your Aviation Passion Into A Career

The Ready For Takeoff podcast will help you transform your aviation passion into an aviation career. Every week we bring you instruction and interviews with top aviators in their field who reveal their flight path to an exciting career in the skies.
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Ready For Takeoff - Turn Your Aviation Passion Into A Career








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Feb 1, 2021

Howard Putnam was raised on an Iowa farm and learned to fly out of a pasture in his Father’s J-3 Piper Cub. He entered the airline business as a baggage handler at Midway Airport in Chicago for Capital Airlines at age 17. Capital was soon merged into United and Howard held thirteen different positions in sales, services and staff assignments in several cities, before being named Group Vice President of Marketing for United Airlines, the world’s largest airline, in 1976.

In 1978 he was recruited to become President and CEO of fledgling Southwest Airlines in Dallas, TX. While at Southwest Howard and his team tripled the revenues and tripled profitability in three years. They also successfully guided Southwest through airline deregulation and Southwest was the first air carrier to order the Boeing 737-300, which later became the largest selling aircraft ever for Boeing.

Howard led the visioning process at Southwest as well as further developing the “fun” culture and excellent customer service that Southwest is still known for today.  Southwest has been profitable every year for over thirty years, a record unsurpassed by any other airline.

In 1981, Howard was recruited by the board of directors of Braniff International to come aboard as CEO and save and/or restructure the financially failing airline. He was the first airline CEO to successfully take a major carrier into, through and out of chapter 11. Braniff flew again in 1984.

He is the author of “The Winds of Turbulence” on leadership and ethics. Harvard University wrote a case study on his experiences at Braniff, “The Ethics of Bankruptcy” as a model as to how to handle stakeholders in crisis.

He has also been an entrepreneur, serving as Chairman of a startup investment company and two small manufacturing and distribution companies.

Howard and Krista have two children, Michael, a commercial airline captain and Sue, in public relations and marketing.

Jan 28, 2021

An outbreak aboard a September flight from Dubai to New Zealand offers researchers, and airlines, an opportunity to study in-transit contagion.

In an effort to reassure, the airlines have updated and adjusted their requirements for travelers, with patchwork results. Some airlines work to maintain social distance, both at the gate and at boarding; others are less vigilant. Mask-wearing is dependent on passenger compliance, and not predictable; nor, increasingly, is flight capacity, which can range from 20 percent to nearly full.

Given the variables, infectious disease specialists have had a hard time determining the risks of flying. But a study published on Wednesday provides some clarity.

After an 18-hour flight from Dubai landed in Auckland, New Zealand, in September, local health authorities discovered evidence of an outbreak that most likely occurred during the trip. Using seat maps and genetic analysis, the new study determined that one passenger initiated a chain of infection that spread to four others en route.

Previous research on apparent in-flight outbreaks focused on flights that occurred last spring, when few travelers wore masks, planes were running near capacity and the value of preventive measures was not broadly understood. The new report, of a largely empty flight in the fall, details what can happen even when airlines and passengers are aware and more cautious about the risks.

The findings deliver a clear warning to both airlines and passengers, experts said.

“The key message here is that you have to have multiple layers of prevention — requiring testing before boarding, social distancing on the flight, and masks,” said Dr. Abraar Karan, an internal medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School who was not part of the study team. “Those things all went wrong in different ways on this flight, and if they’d just tested properly, this wouldn’t have happened.”

The new infections were detected after the plane landed in New Zealand; the country requires incoming travelers to quarantine for 14 days before entering the community. The analysis, led by researchers at the New Zealand Ministry of Health, found that seven of the 86 passengers on board tested positive during their quarantine and that at least four were newly infected on the flight. The aircraft, a Boeing 777-300ER, with a capacity of nearly 400 passengers, was only one-quarter full.

These seven passengers came from five countries, and they were seated within four rows of one another for the 18-hour duration of the flight. Two acknowledged that they did not wear masks, and the airline did not require mask-wearing in the lobby before boarding. Nor did it require preflight testing, although five of the seven passengers who later tested positive had taken a test, and received a negative result, in the days before boarding.

The versions of the coronavirus that all seven carried were virtually identical genetically — strongly suggesting that one person among them initiated the outbreak. That person, whom the report calls Passenger A, had in fact tested negative four or five days before boarding, the researchers found.

“Four or five days is a long time,” Dr. Karan said. “You should be asking for results of rapid tests done hours before the flight, ideally.”

Even restrictive “Covid-free” flights, international bookings that require a negative result to board, give people a day or two before departure to get a test.

The findings are not definitive, cautioned the authors, led by Dr. Tara Swadi, an adviser with New Zealand’s Health Ministry. But results “underscore the value of considering all international passengers arriving in New Zealand as being potentially infected, even if pre-departure testing was undertaken, social distancing and spacing were followed, and personal protective equipment was used in-flight,” the researchers concluded.

Previous studies of infection risk during air travel did not clearly quantify the risk, and onboard air filtration systems are thought to reduce the infection risk among passengers even when a flight includes one or more infected people. But at least two recent reports strongly suggest that in-flight outbreaks are a risk: one of a flight from Boston to Hong Kong in March; the other of a flight from London to Hanoi, Vietnam, also in March.

On the Hong Kong flight, the analysis suggested that two passengers who boarded in Boston infected two flight attendants. On the Hanoi flight, researchers found that 12 of 16 people who later tested positive were sitting in business class, and that proximity to the infectious person strongly predicted infection risk.

Airline policies vary widely, depending on the flight and the carrier. During the first months of the pandemic, most U.S. airlines had a policy of blocking off seats, or allowing passengers to reschedule if a flight was near 70 percent full. But by the holidays those policies were largely phased out, said Scott Mayerowitz, executive editor at The Points Guy, a website that covers the industry.

All carriers have a mask policy, for passengers and crew — although passengers are not always compliant.

“Even before the pandemic, passengers weren’t always the best at following rules on airplanes,” Mr. Mayerowitz said. “Something about air travel brings out the worse in people, whether it’s fighting over reclined seats, or overhead bin space, or wearing a mask properly.”

Temperature checks are uncommon and are less than reliable as an indicator of infectiousness. And coronavirus tests are not needed for boarding, at least on domestic flights. Some international flights are “Covid tested”: to fly from New York to Rome on Alitalia, for example, passengers must have received a negative test result within 48 hours of boarding. They are tested again on arrival in Rome.

Dr. Karan said that, unless all preventive measures are in place, there will be some risk of infection on almost any flight.

“It is surprising and not surprising, on an 18-hour flight, that an outbreak would occur,” Dr. Karan said. “It’s more than likely that more than just those two people took off their mask at some point,” and every such lapse increases the likelihood of spread.

Jan 25, 2021

Growing up in a community similar to the Amish, I’d been programmed to follow the same path my ancestors had followed for hundreds of years. Church members could only drive black cars, and the women all wore white caps, black bonnets, and long dark dresses exactly alike. Forbidden to own a television, go to the movies, wear makeup, serve in the military, or even press charges when someone robbed our home, we lived a life cut off from the mainstream. Having friends outside the church was discouraged, as they invited corruption. To leave the church was to be excommunicated and shunned by everyone near and dear. In some ways, the simplicity and isolation made it idyllic, even if it was also repressive. For men, only a handful of paths were acceptable. Allowable occupations were mainly confined to farming, business, or mechanical jobs to avoid becoming “worldly,” and college was discouraged for the same reason. And for women? Only one path was permissible: enter the church, marry only a member of that church, obey my husband, and have many children.
And then . . . destiny intervened early in the way it sometimes does . . .

After being catapulted out of the only world I knew as a child, I heard the Call of my Wild Soul. I followed. I acted. It took me places I never could have imagined or orchestrated. After obtaining my private pilot’s license in high school, followed by an appointment to the US Air Force Academy, I became an Air Force pilot, an aircraft commander in war, an international airline captain responsible for hundreds of lives, a life coach, and a medical qigong practitioner. The little girl who at a very young age began preparing for her expected future by learning to bake bread, sew clothes, cook for a large family, garden, can and freeze food, and be extremely obedient wouldn’t recognize this life. 

I’ve come to see over and over that the Universe always begins with the end in mind. It’s a far better travel agent with far more information at its fingertips than I have. It whispers an invitation to your personal path of transformation, beckoning you toward greater freedom and power—and especially toward the evolution of your soul. All you need do is listen and summon the courage to follow.

Every transformational adventure in my life has arisen out of a quiet voice that said, “Go here,” “Try this,” “Persevere,” “Leave,” “Revise this belief,” “Let it go,” etc. Sometimes it was an inner voice and sometimes an outer one. Often the path didn’t unfold in a logical manner, go as I planned, or lead  

where I thought it would—or should. And yet it always led to more freedom and deeper contentment. Many of my journeys were incredibly arduous. Had I understood how difficult they would be, I probably wouldn’t have agreed to go, yet I don’t regret any of them. I’m awestruck by the magic of this process, and it has led me to call myself by a term many people haven't heard before—the title of "practical mystic."

Jan 21, 2021

The Yerkes–Dodson law is an empirical relationship between pressure and performance, originally developed by psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson in 1908. The law dictates that performance increases with physiological or mental arousal, but only up to a point. When levels of arousal become too high, performance decreases. The process is often illustrated graphically as a bell-shaped curve which increases and then decreases with higher levels of arousal. The original paper (a study of Japanese dancing mice) was only referenced ten times over the next half century, yet in four of the citing articles, these findings were described as a psychological "law".

Researchers have found that different tasks require different levels of arousal for optimal performance. For example, difficult or intellectually demanding tasks may require a lower level of arousal (to facilitate concentration), whereas tasks demanding stamina or persistence may be performed better with higher levels of arousal (to increase motivation).

Because of task differences, the shape of the curve can be highly variable. For simple or well-learned tasks, the relationship is monotonic, and performance improves as arousal increases. For complex, unfamiliar, or difficult tasks, the relationship between arousal and performance reverses after a point, and performance thereafter declines as arousal increases.

The effect of task difficulty led to the hypothesis that the Yerkes–Dodson Law can be decomposed into two distinct factors as in a bathtub curve. The upward part of the inverted U can be thought of as the energizing effect of arousal. The downward part is caused by negative effects of arousal (or stress) on cognitive processes like attention (e.g., "tunnel vision"), memory, and problem-solving.

Jan 18, 2021

Hope2Others International is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing clean water to those in need throughout the world. Our primary work is centered on offering individual families or groups of families the ability to own their own well, which creates not only dignity but long term sustainability and self-sufficiency.  We are dedicated to employing and empowering locals to bring this goal to fruition.

By manually drilling our wells and designing our pumps from locally available parts, we provide a family a source of clean, safe water on their own compound for less than $200.  The family pays a small fee, according to their ability, to support our drillers and helps in the drilling process. Once drilling is complete, H2O donates the materials to case the borehole and create a hand pump.  This pump provides readily accessible water for drinking, cleaning and irrigation of a garden to provide a year round food source.

Jan 14, 2021

Coronavirus has almost all of us grounded, so it’s probably been a while since you’ve heard a preflight safety briefing, and longer since you gave it any attention.

As we fantasize about getting on a plane again, we at TPG thought it’d be a good time to look under the hood of that once-familiar speech.

For starters, have you ever wondered why every airline seems to do theirs slightly differently? From Southwest’s folksy approach to American’s video demonstration that commands flyers to “buckle those belts,” each airline’s safety briefing might seem distinct. And, it’s true – most airlines have their own style. But, beyond that, there actually is a structure that all U.S. airlines must meet to have their briefings approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

To get the details on what’s needed, TPG asked Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), which represents cabin crew members from 20 airlines, and AFA spokeswoman Taylor Garland, to walk us through the most common elements of the briefing and explain their purpose.

“In general, a passenger who listens to the safety briefing is a safer passenger,” Nelson said.

Every airline’s safety briefing is slightly different, but they are all reviewed by the FAA, which also dictates what the videos or announcements must cover. That’s why they all contain the same basic elements.

If you’ve ever wondered why some things are included, here’s everything you need to know There’s a reason they’re displayed so prominently at every row and in other locations on planes, according to Garland. Fire, she said, “is one of the most dangerous things that can happen on an aircraft.”

That’s also why airplane lavatories still have ashtrays — cabin crews need a safe place to snuff out the butts of inflight lawbreakers.

Fire is also the main reason why battery-powered devices are increasingly being banned from checked bags. If it’s not in the cabin, Garland said, “fire is harder to recognize as quickly and deal with.”

Even in the cabin, fire can be dangerous, and that’s why it’s important to be careful with your electronics. Flight attendants increasingly make announcements about not adjusting your seat if you drop your phone or tablet, and that’s because, if you accidentally crack your device in the process, it has a higher chance of igniting.

 the key elements of the briefings, and an explanation of why they’re brought to your attention before every flight. Sit back, relax and enjoy your primer.

Posted signs and placards

Signs and placards give important, often legally binding info to passengers, and none is more familiar to travelers than the no smoking sign.

There’s a reason they’re displayed so prominently at every row and in other locations on planes, according to Garland. Fire, she said, “is one of the most dangerous things that can happen on an aircraft.”

That’s also why airplane lavatories still have ashtrays — cabin crews need a safe place to snuff out the butts of inflight lawbreakers.

Fire is also the main reason why battery-powered devices are increasingly being banned from checked bags. If it’s not in the cabin, Garland said, “fire is harder to recognize as quickly and deal with.”

Even in the cabin, fire can be dangerous, and that’s why it’s important to be careful with your electronics. Flight attendants increasingly make announcements about not adjusting your seat if you drop your phone or tablet, and that’s because, if you accidentally crack your device in the process, it has a higher chance of igniting.

Seat belts

“When the seat belt sign is on, you need to be in your seat. Some people think that’s a suggestion. It’s not, it is a federal regulation,” Garland said.

In turbulence, “you yourself can become a projectile if you are not restrained.”

While pilots often get advanced warnings from their instruments and other pilots about bumps in the air, airplanes do sometimes encounter unforeseen “clear-air” turbulence. That’s especially dangerous because passengers are less likely to be strapped in when it happens. Turbulence-related incidents are becoming more common as a result of climate change, and that’s why it’s so important to stay buckled in as much as possible.

Garland said taking your seat belt off at cruising altitude is just like unfastening while speeding down the highway in your car.

“You would never in your life think, ‘oh, I’m in the middle of this drive, let me unbuckle my seat belt,’” she said. “It’s the same thought process there. Yes, you’re dealing with turbulence on a plane versus other cars or things on the road,” but the danger of unexpected, serious injury is similar in both situations.

As for why passengers still need to be told how their seat belt works, Garland said there are two main reasons. “We have first time passengers all the time. Car seat belts don’t operate like airplane seatbelts, and people are confused,” she said in an email. “Plus it’s a reminder that you have to wear them — you wouldn’t believe the number of people who don’t wear the seat belt!”

Loss of pressure and the oxygen mask

Parents, we know the temptation is to help your kids (or your pets) first — my mom always swore she’d make sure my mask was on in an emergency before hers — but that’s a bad idea. There really is a reason you need to put your mask on before helping your travel companions.

“Depending on the type of decompression and how quickly it happens and what altitude you’re at, you can become incapacitated in seconds,” Garland said.

“You need to put your oxygen mask on first before even having a chance of helping others,” she added. “In the time it may take for you to help your child put on their oxygen mask, you can become incapacitated.”

It’s also important that the mask fully cover your nose and mouth, because you may not get sufficient oxygen in a depressurized cabin otherwise.

Oxygen masks received renewed attention in the aftermath of Southwest flight 1380, a plane that made an emergency landing in 2018, when passengers posted selfies while wearing the equipment improperly.


“Flight attendants are onboard to help get you off that plane in 90 seconds or less in the event of an emergency, and you knowing where those exits are is an important part of doing that quickly,” Garland said.

She added that for passengers seated in the exit row, knowing how to operate the door and help others evacuate can literally be the difference between life and death for you and your fellow travelers.

Above all, if there’s an emergency, do not bring your luggage off the plane with you, Garland said. Aside from possibly slowing down the evacuation, baggage and other items can damage slides and rafts so much that they could become unusable. High-heeled shoes can cause similar damage during an evacuation, so travelers — even drag queens — should consider wearing flats whenever they fly.

Life vests

“They’ve found over the course of several accidents that it wasn’t necessarily intuitive on how to put those on and how they function,” Garland said. The instruction about not inflating the life vest before exiting the plane is particularly important because a fully-inflated life vest can impede the evacuation, and may prevent people from getting to the nearest door — especially if parts of the cabin are already submerged.

Seats and tray tables: upright and locked

“It’s about giving everyone on board the best shot for minimal injury and survival in an accident,” Garland said.

Reclined seats and lowered tray tables can block other passengers from evacuating in an emergency. Also, seats are crash-tested in the upright position, so they’re designed to absorb the most impact when they aren’t reclined.

Improperly stowed carry-on bags can also block people during an evacuation. Large items like laptops or unsecured bags can become projectiles during a crash, which could cause serious injury to passengers or members of the cabin crew.

“Oftentimes this can be some of the pushback that we get. We go through the cabin and do our final safety checks and tell people to put their tray tables away and get their seat in — some will joke — the most uncomfortable position, and make sure their bags are stowed, and it’s all for a reason, there are actual safety reasons behind that,” Nelson, the AFA president, said.

Next time you get on a plane, it likely will have been a while since you heard the safety briefing. Now you’ll know why it has the information it does, and hopefully, you’ll understand why it’s important to listen to it every time you fly, even when hearing it starts to feel much more routine again.


Jan 11, 2021

Hi, I’m Chris Roy, founder and president of Doobert.  I’m a technology guy in my “day” job and I use my experience to create which is an online software platform custom-built for animal rescuers.  It’s like a combination of specifically for animal shelters and rescues to find new partners, and then a volunteer Uber for getting the animals where they need to go.  But it’s also the ONLY Foster home management solution out there and the ONLY solution that allows you to get videos back easily.  

I enjoy helping provide technology solutions to some of the biggest challenges in animal rescue and I am always looking for new ways to help animals and the people that care for them.  Personally, I’m supported by my amazing wife Daphne, and together we have 5 furkids:  4 cats and 1 dog.  

I’ve built Doobert to be a transparent, supportive organization.  We always welcome suggestions, ideas, complaints, as it helps us to make the software even better.

Thank you for what you do for the animals.  We are proud to support you.

Jan 7, 2021

How to Set a Goal

First consider what you want to achieve, and then commit to it. Set SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals that motivate you and write them down to make them feel tangible. Then plan the steps you must take to realize your goal, and cross off each one as you work through them.

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.

The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You'll also quickly spot the distractions that can, so easily, lead you astray.

Why Set Goals?

Top-level athletes, successful businesspeople and achievers in all fields all set goals. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation . It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the most of your life.

By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you'll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. You will also raise your self-confidence , as you recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you've set.

Starting to Set Personal Goals

You set your goals on a number of levels:

  • First you create your "big picture" of what you want to do with your life (or over, say, the next 10 years), and identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve.
  • Then, you break these down into the smaller and smaller targets that you must hit to reach your lifetime goals.
  • Finally, once you have your plan, you start working on it to achieve these goals.

This is why we start the process of setting goals by looking at your lifetime goals. Then, we work down to the things that you can do in, say, the next five years, then next year, next month, next week, and today, to start moving towards them.

Step 1: Setting Lifetime Goals

The first step in setting personal goals is to consider what you want to achieve in your lifetime (or at least, by a significant and distant age in the future). Setting lifetime goals gives you the overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your decision making.

To give a broad, balanced coverage of all important areas in your life, try to set goals in some of the following categories (or in other categories of your own, where these are important to you):

  • Career – What level do you want to reach in your career, or what do you want to achieve?
  • Financial – How much do you want to earn, by what stage? How is this related to your career goals?
  • Education – Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to have in order to achieve other goals?
  • Family – Do you want to be a parent? If so, how are you going to be a good parent? How do you want to be seen by a partner or by members of your extended family?
  • Artistic – Do you want to achieve any artistic goals?
  • Attitude – Is any part of your mindset holding you back? Is there any part of the way that you behave that upsets you? (If so, set a goal to improve your behavior or find a solution to the problem.)
  • Physical – Are there any athletic goals that you want to achieve, or do you want good health deep into old age? What steps are you going to take to achieve this?
  • Pleasure – How do you want to enjoy yourself? (You should ensure that some of your life is for you!)
  • Public Service – Do you want to make the world a better place? If so, how?

Spend some time brainstorming  these things, and then select one or more goals in each category that best reflect what you want to do. Then consider trimming again so that you have a small number of really significant goals that you can focus on.

As you do this, make sure that the goals that you have set are ones that you genuinely want to achieve, not ones that your parents, family, or employers might want. (If you have a partner, you probably want to consider what he or she wants – however, make sure that you also remain true to yourself!)

Step 2: Setting Smaller Goals

Once you have set your lifetime goals, set a five-year plan of smaller goals that you need to complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan.

Then create a one-year plan, six-month plan, and a one-month plan of progressively smaller goals that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals. Each of these should be based on the previous plan.

Then create a daily To-Do List  of things that you should do today to work towards your lifetime goals.

At an early stage, your smaller goals might be to read books and gather information on the achievement of your higher level goals. This will help you to improve the quality and realism of your goal setting.

Finally, review your plans, and make sure that they fit the way in which you want to live your life.

Staying on Course

Once you've decided on your first set of goals, keep the process going by reviewing and updating your To-Do List on a daily basis.

Periodically review the longer term plans, and modify them to reflect your changing priorities and experience. (A good way of doing this is to schedule regular, repeating reviews using a computer-based diary.)


A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART  mnemonic. While there are plenty of variants (some of which we've included in parenthesis), SMART usually stands for:

  • S – Specific (or Significant).
  • M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
  • A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
  • R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
  • T – Time-bound (or Trackable).

For example, instead of having "to sail around the world" as a goal, it's more powerful to use the SMART goal "To have completed my trip around the world by December 31, 2027." Obviously, this will only be attainable if a lot of preparation has been completed beforehand!

Further Tips for Setting Your Goals

The following broad guidelines will help you to set effective, achievable goals:

  • State each goal as a positive statement – Express your goals positively – "Execute this technique well" is a much better goal than "Don't make this stupid mistake."
  • Be precise – Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you'll know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
  • Set priorities – When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
  • Write goals down – This crystallizes them and gives them more force.
  • Keep operational goals small – Keep the low-level goals that you're working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward.
  • Set performance goals, not outcome goals – You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. It can be quite dispiriting to fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control!In business, these reasons could be bad business environments or unexpected effects of government policy. In sport, they could include poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck.If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals, and draw satisfaction from them.
  • Set realistic goals – It's important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people (for example, employers, parents, media, or society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions.It's also possible to set goals that are too difficult because you might not appreciate either the obstacles in the way, or understand quite how much skill you need to develop to achieve a particular level of performance.

Achieving Goals

When you've achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. Absorb the implications of the goal achievement, and observe the progress that you've made towards other goals.

If the goal was a significant one, reward yourself appropriately. All of this helps you build the self-confidence you deserve.

With the experience of having achieved this goal, review the rest of your goal plans:

  • If you achieved the goal too easily, make your next goal harder.
  • If the goal took a dispiriting length of time to achieve, make the next goal a little easier.
  • If you learned something that would lead you to change other goals, do so.
  • If you noticed a deficit in your skills despite achieving the goal, decide whether to set goals to fix this.

Example Personal Goals

For her New Year's Resolution, Susan has decided to think about what she really wants to do with her life.

Her lifetime goals are as follows:

  • Career – "To be managing editor of the magazine that I work for."
  • Artistic – "To keep working on my illustration skills. Ultimately I want to have my own show in our downtown gallery."
  • Physical – "To run a marathon."

Now that Susan has listed her lifetime goals, she then breaks down each one into smaller, more manageable goals.

Let's take a closer look at how she might break down her lifetime career goal – becoming managing editor of her magazine:

  • Five-year goal: "Become deputy editor."
  • One-year goal: "Volunteer for projects that the current Managing Editor is heading up."
  • Six-month goal: "Go back to school and finish my journalism degree."
  • One-month goal: "Talk to the current managing editor to determine what skills are needed to do the job."
  • One-week goal: "Book the meeting with the Managing Editor."

As you can see from this example, breaking big goals down into smaller, more manageable goals makes it far easier to see how the goal will get accomplished.

Key Points

Goal setting is an important method for:

  • Deciding what you want to achieve in your life.
  • Separating what's important from what's irrelevant, or a distraction.
  • Motivating yourself.
  • Building your self-confidence, based on successful achievement of goals.

Set your lifetime goals first. Then, set a five-year plan of smaller goals that you need to complete if you are to reach your lifetime plan. Keep the process going by regularly reviewing and updating your goals. And remember to take time to enjoy the satisfaction of achieving your goals when you do so.

If you don't already set goals, do so, starting now. As you make this technique part of your life, you'll find your career accelerating, and you'll wonder how you did without it!

Jan 4, 2021

Ace Beall entered the Air Force with over 200 hours flying experience, with a goal of becoming an airline pilot. He was commissioned through the "90-day wonder" program, and excelled in Undergraduate Pilot Training. Upon graduation he selected an assignment as a T-38 Instructor Pilot (IP).

After that assignment, he flew C-141s at McCord Air Force Base for four years. He had hoped to get an airline job, but instead flew a King Air for an oil company, which promptly went out of business. On a lark, he interviewed with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and was hired as a T-38 pilot. In this role, he trained astronauts in the T-38, and was offered the opportunity to apply to be an astronaut, but chose to remain as a research pilot.

As a research pilot, he was flying five different types of airplanes, and eventually became the pilot of the shuttle carrier aircraft, the B747 that carried the space shuttle. He also flew the famous "vomit comet".

Ace now flies for NASA as a SOFIA pilot.

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