Success Lessons from Life – Steve Fossett

Recently, I saw the news item about Steve Fossett flying around the world. The record-setting flight by this 61 year-old man was amazing.

But, it took Terry Brock, a friend of mind and techie guru, to put his flight into proper perspective for me.

Here are Terry’s thoughts on the “Success Lessons” to be learned from Fossett’s flight experiences:

Provides Success Lessons
By Terry Brock

Did you see the news about what that incredible guy, Steve Fossett did recently? He broke yet another world record by achieving the longest, non-stop flight in aviation history. He not only flew around the world, but went even farther. The 61-year-old flew 26,389.3 miles in his Virgin GlobalFlyer during a journey that lasted 76 hours and 45 minutes.

I wrote about his record-breaking solo flight earlier when he piloted his GlobalFlyer around the world for another record. This 61 year old adventurer continues to teach all of us some valuable lessons about life.

Here are a few of the lessons I’ve gleaned from studying what Steve Fossett did.

Fossett Planned His Trip. It took a huge amount of planning to get just the right equipment (his custom-built Global Flyer was designed to stay airborne as long as possible and was carefully and meticulously crafted to make the trip). He had the right amount of training (Fossett didn’t start flying yesterday!). He also had a strong support crew (Virgin Atlantic and the legendary Richard Branson were behind him financially and with moral support).

Fossett Had a Great Team Around Him. His team of professionals watched everything from the stability of the GlobalFlyer, the weather conditions, Steve’s own health and attitude and a thousand other variables.

Fossett Prepared for Setbacks. While flying over India, Fossett met with turbulence that was so strong he had to seriously consider aborting the mission. He strapped on the emergency parachute and was ready to jump. He made it through but proper preparation prevented poor performance once again.

Fossett Didn’t Rest Much. During the trip Steve Fossett flew solo for those 76 hours. He caught quick 10 minute naps totally about 2 hours to keep going. He did the same thing on previous journeys, like on his solo flight around the world last year. This means he had studied some biology and knew what he could do. He was also so determined that he pushed himself—within reason— to reach the goal.

Lesson For You and Me: You have to have balance and push yourself. Get the proper medical guidance to know what you can do. But don’t baby yourself! I learned a while back that successful people do what unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do (Thank you Earl Nightingale!). Don’t be stupid and risk your health, of course. Seek competent medical advice and know what you can do. Then push yourself relentlessly to achieve the goals you have. Don’t be lazy and cut yourself slack. Push at the right time and know when to moderate.

Fossett Allocated His Resources Wisely. At the beginning of the trip, an emergency cost Fossett almost 750 pounds of fuel. He also had weather conditions that increased the heat in the cabin to 130 degrees thus changing his plans on water consumption. He had to consume more water just to stay alive.

Fossett Adjusted His Goals As Reality Dictated. At the conclusion of the trip, Fossett had to completely change his plan. Think about it— he had made it all the way around the world—and more. At the end of the journey, his electrical generator went out. He had only 15 minutes left or the trip would have ended in a crash. Fossett made the decision to land at Bournemouth International Airport, in southern England, instead of his planned landing point in nearby Kent. He was still able to successfully beat the world record.

Lesson For You and Me: Reality can shift your plans and you have to be willing, able and ready to change—without loosing site of your overall goal. When Fossett’s generator failed, he had no choice but to find an alternate landing place. However, he still achieved the overall goal of breaking the world record. Know what you ultimately want and be flexible enough to adapt with changing circumstances. By the way, while landing, the GlobalFlyer burst two tires and his windscreen was so clogged with ice that he couldn’t see in front. On top of that, he only had 200 pounds of fuel which would have created yet another emergency. Yes, life is riddled with problems and challenges in the midst of all the adventure. Don’t be surprised by these problems and challenges.

Make your plans to recognize them and have your own alternate plans in place to succeed. Remember that as you have to change, look at the new environment. What can you do to leverage those changes to your advantage? Sure, things are going to be different. When (not if) this happens, examine the new environment and leverage your abilities and strengths with that new reality. Losers expect the world to always be a certain way and refuse to change. They’d rather blame others or circumstances. Winners realize that change is inevitable and their best laid plans will have to be altered as reality changes. Adapt. Be flexible. Learn from obstacles and use those obstacles as stepping stones to propel you father ahead!

Your business is your own GlobalFlyer. Make your plans for your own journey and do it wisely, with professional care and support. Then have that dogged determination to barrel through no matter what.


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