I acquired my pilots license to fly single engine aircraft in my recent past. I came upon the idea that it was actually possible to do this, while my cousin started his pilot journey. Me being in my 40’s, I viewed it as a great life skill that I could actually afford to do. I wanted to enjoy the journey, so my only thought was that I would awesome to have more options of travel, if I had my private pilots license (PPL). This quickly turned into motivation when I realized what I had unknowingly started. I had started down a journey that I alone decided to do. And it was I alone that was responsible for it’s success or failure. I made a commitment and I was determined to see it through. The only thing I did was consult with my wife on if she would support me if I decided to pursue this. Once she signed off, it made deciding much easier.
Deciding and commiting on such a huge decision, is not something I am accustom to doing everyday. And usually those huge decisions are made with others in mind. Marriage and kids fall into this category. This one, though, is one that only I could own…one that I would have to be solely responsible for succeeding or failing at. And also with its share of risk, for obvious reasons. As a child of 4 (and being the youngest), I often had others to look up to and guide me. To this day, I generally get a populus concensus before making a big decision. I’ve never considered myself the leader type, although my wife has taught me how to become more of one. Flying a plane, though, required me to be a leader (pilot in command) and forced me to make decisions that affected myself and others.
It’s been a few years since that journey, and I was thinking today about how it really felt to be under the hood. Putting myself back in those shoes is rough. The pressure was overwheling at times, because I invested so much time, energy, and money in it. I wasn’t a “natural” at flying, so the learning curve felt like a mountain. I failed a few times, both on the oral exam and the flying portion. Each time I felt like giving up, but knowing how much I’ve invested, giving up wasn’t an option.
Quitting wasn’t an option. I knew this. I knew that I was capable. I knew that I was prepared. I trusted my instructor. Doubt was in my head big time, but determination and motivation was key. And just knowing that I had to see this through, for better or worse, made me better for it.
Earning my wings served its purpose. I knew upfront that if I finished, I could no longer say that something was unattainable. And I also know that if I keep finding those unattainable goals, the more confident I’ll be. I knew earning my wings was only a beginning…not an end.
I hope this inspires you just a little, because I am no different that an average Joe. And if an average Joe can do something so large with no natural abilities, so can you.