I think I can, I think I can, I know I can!

Ok, so just when I thought all hope was lost, I dare say a miracle happened and here is the amazing story of how it happened…

While sitting at home on Saturday morning, watching the PGA Championship golf tournament, just as coverage was switching off the golf channel to the network, on came a movie on the golf channel that nearly bowled me over – 7 Days in Utopia. You see my buddy Glen, the aspiring pro golfer who has become my bestest bud, introduced me to this book over a year ago, when he was down in Arizona trying to make it on the mini tours. Glen said the book was a turning point in his golf career and as his trusted caddie I figured I had to read it, and I loved it. Finding out it was a movie floored me and I made a note to check that it was on Netflix as I was about to head out to a flight, the very flight where we had the instrument troubles.

Well, as I have already shared, Saturday’s flight and my afternoon meltdown marked a pretty low point for me in my flight training, however I finished the evening off with the movie and a glass of crown and coke to drown my sorrows. The movie literally brought me to tears as I watched the story of the pro golfer undergo a similar meltdown and subsequent recovery to greatness through the tutelage of a mentor who helped the golfer gain a new perspective on his troubles… He had to see it, feel it, trust it (SFT). Visualize the shots, feel the swing needed, and trust his skills and the results would come. A strategy I could easily port into my flying, much like the little engine that could – a book I loved as a child.

The story showed the golfer’s rise to greatness through a recommitment to his faith and his skills that ushered away the doubts and replaced them with a measure of confidence through a formulaic strategy SFT – precisely what I needed. The final scene of the movie showed the golfer rolling a putt toward the hole to win his first pro tournament but, the movie cut out before the ball reached the hole and instead showed a black screen with a website address that we could visit to see if he did in fact make the putt… www.didhemaketheputt.com

I quickly pulled out my ipad and followed the link to find an inspiring post script to the movie that basically asked the question did it even matter if he made the putt, because the personal transformation he underwent was far greater than any golf results. While long story short, he did make the putt and I quickly learned that there was a new follow up book (Johnny’s US Open) that I quickly nabbed on Amazon and immediately started reading.

Having already told my instructor I was taking Sunday off, I headed off to my own Utopia, church with the family and then a quiet afternoon at home with golf on TV and the new book on my ipad. Once again the story was incredibly inspiring – revisiting the idea of fear and how fear is a dream-taker, incapacitating people form achieving their dreams. Sometimes it is individual pressure we place on ourselves that becomes our dream-taker, sometimes is external pressure placed on us by outsiders or circumstances. But that we can’t let the dream-takers fill us with fear and squelch out our dreams.

So before today’s flight I pushed myself to read as much of the book as I could and ingrained in myself a feeling of confidence and a strategy of – I think I can, I think I can, I know I can. And guess what, it worked! I flew the entire flight with a new found confidence in my abilities and although I didn’t nail every maneuver perfectly, I did do most things very well and more importantly I didn’t let the heat or the fear or the situation overtake my dreams. Clearly skill wise I still have a few things left to master but we have another 2 flights to get those down before the checkride, but now I have the confidence to push on with my training and tackle that checkride head on.

Shortly before sitting down to write this entry I had made up my mind that once the checkride is complete I will be changing out of the fast track program and into the self-paced program where I can get a better balance on my training, my study and most importantly, my family life. I figure it’s taken me 38 years to get this far, there is nothing pressing me complete this journey in such a rush as to burden the family and burn myself out. My goal is now to finish the program by spring 2015 and to get back to enjoying the journey.

Wow, what a long entry this was, but entirely needed and even cathartic.


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