When flying, permanent multitasking is essential – because a situation can change within seconds. According to certain patterns, we constantly scan the instruments, keep an eye on the airspace, work through the checklists, do the navigation, stay focused on the horizon and radio with the responsible authorities. This makes it all the more important to anticipate developments and events during the flight.

For example, the standard training of (female) pilots includes numerous emergency maneuvers. They are practiced intensively during the training. These include power-off landings (simulated engine failure), take-off exercises, the abort of take-off in case of technical problems, the “power-off after take-off” – one of the most unfavorable situations, by the way, because the engine fails at even lower altitudes during take-off and the aircraft is in the process of climbing – or the behavior during a “stall”, i.e. stalling.

So during the flight, (female) pilots always have in mind that the engine might fail or that there might be some other technical problem. This sounds rather pessimistic, but can be described as “protective pessimism”. This term comes from a book we strongly recommend: “Shoot for the Moon” by Richard Wyseman, an American psychologist (R. Wyseman, 2019, p. 175).

But it is not only the technical aspects that can surprise us during the flight. The “What if’s…”, the mental anticipation of possible events, are a constant accompaniment to every flight preparation and every flight. This can be a sudden change in the weather on the route or at the destination airport, or a passenger who suddenly feels sick. 

For pilots it is essential to be one step ahead of the aircraft, its passengers and the events around it. 

The motto is always: “First fly the aircraft”. Although we are constantly doing several things at once in the airplane or helicopter – the actual basic task of flying the aircraft must never be lost sight of.

In situations of great hectic or stress, mistakes can quickly happen. Often there is a sequence of several mistakes and the danger is high that one quickly loses focus and panics. It is precisely in such situations that it is essential not to let oneself be put under pressure, to choose one’s own pace if possible, and to give oneself the necessary time to take a deep breath and reflect.

For example, this can result in a decision for a go-around or to prolong a “circuit” (a defined procedure for the approach to a runway) to allow time for a safe landing.

Do you also experience such situations in your life? 

So it is better to take a step back and think through the decisions and next steps again. For example, when flying, this corresponds to the go-around as mentioned before. 

During this new approach you gain time, can sort yourself out again and coordinate the steps for landing and work through them again in peace. As with flying, this also applies to our professional and private lives: “Caution is better than hindsight”.

Hecticness and strain create stress. Stress can create tunnel vision or blackouts, making clear decisions impossible. But calm reaction in extraordinary situations can be trained. Mental or physical checklists also help to ensure that even in a “state of emergency” a “normal state” can be restored as quickly as possible (- but more about this in a later blog).

The #clearedtoland success principle with its 8 core points is about the mindset that makes the difference: “I am cleared to land” or “I can do it!”A mindset that helps even under adverse circumstances, such as a worldwide pandemic – as we are all experiencing at the moment – with all the associated challenges for our professional and private lives.

A strong mindset and confidence in one’s own abilities not only helps in unforeseen situations but also helps to run a company, lead a team, successfully complete a project or privately overcome a difficult situation or life crisis.

For your professional life, #clearedtoland core point no. 2 means to always remember that a situation can change unexpectedly. Always anticipate the unexpected! What can happen? and how do I react and act then?

Now, of course, you don’t have to go through life constantly imagining the worst. But maybe the “protective pessimism” helps you not to take the current carefree state for granted, but to be grateful for it – and at the same time to have a plan B and C in the back of your mind just in case.

What to do if the requirements for your job change suddenly? Do you have a plan B and C for this as well? Which you can call up immediately to react quickly to new situations? For example, do you feel prepared for digital change and changing requirements in your job?

Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by changing conditions and upheavals! Prepare yourself, also for future challenges. With a plan B and C. This way you get fit and stay capable of acting!

We do not land all planes. But we face new challenges every day, or in 2020 the already mentioned global pandemic including lockdown with far-reaching consequences for the entire world. Every now and then such an unforeseen situation may seem like an emergency landing to us. This is where #clearedtoland key point no. 2 “expect the unexpected” can help you by making sure you are prepared for everything!

But sometimes it is the case that we cannot change the situation. For example, the current situation, to which we are all at the mercy of in various degrees. Since the lockdown in March, practically all events and workshops have been cancelled or postponed. And as sorry as we are – for ourselves but also for all those affected. However, complaining is of no use at this point. But what helps is one of our favorite methods from the coaching case: Reframing.

But what exactly is reframing?

Reframing means to give things a new frame. Specifically, I ask myself in reframing: what positive aspects can I gain from this difficult situation? The more consciously I approach a situation with a positive minimum and look at things in a new context, the more my frustration gives way and new energy is released. 

You can ask yourself this every time things don’t go as desired, including illnesses and problems that suddenly appear before us.

In our case we asked ourselves: How can we turn these cancellations into something good? We realized that we had suddenly gained a lot of time because of the cancellations. Time that we could invest in working out strategic issues and completing various left-over tasks.

In short, it is about training the ability to look at the meaning of events and difficult situations in a flexible way, to look at different solutions and thus to increase options. 

This change of perspective prevents us from feeling at the mercy of others and getting stuck in a negative spiral and possibly getting lost in small-scale navigation. 

Reframing is therefore an effective method. Try it!

We always say: We can’t change the wind, but we can choose the runway accordingly.

“Expect the unexpected”, but at the same time be glad when none of it arrives and you can navigate calmly through your life.

In the end, even the absence of bad luck is a great happiness!

Would you like to learn more about this topic:

We offer a one-day workshop on 13.11.2020: Learning from female pilots – navigating successfully through the crisis.

You can find out more and register at info@clearedtoland.ch.