This past week, a classmate of mine asked me about giving a copy of my book to a young woman who won her science fair. Chuck spends a bit of his time teaching and sponsoring the next generation of STEM leaders. He gives out cash awards to students on behalf of the National Society of Professional Engineers and this time, included my book as an award. I was delighted!

Many of my blog posts include excerpts from my book, Flight Lessons: Navigating Through Life’s Turbulence and Learning to Fly High. Have you read it? If so, would you be kind enough to write a review on Amazon? If not, consider buying a copy to find out more. And then, write a review.

By the way, I have been receiving good feedback whenever I write about aviation so let’s keep that theme going and talk about flight school. Aviators go through several iterations of ground school and flight training in three phases: basic, intermediate, and advanced, learning more complex topics and skills each time. I attended flight school multiple times throughout my career because certification in each new aircraft typically requires another round of ground school and flight training.

In life as in aviation, we need knowledge and training before we take flight. I think of learning as the ground school of life. We grow our knowledge through school, reading, life experiences, and personal and professional development. The Naval Academy was the ground school of my life. It is where I began to develop the foundation that would support the rest of my personal and professional life.

Skills training and practice are equally as important as expanding our knowledge. Job experiences, working with a mentor, developing a support system—all of these will help you learn to maneuver through your career and handle whatever challenges might come your way.

During ground school in Pensacola, we learned about the environmental factors that affect weather and how to read the clouds. We learned what produces a thunderstorm and, more importantly, how to avoid one. We learned never to fly into or under a thunderstorm, always around or on top. Our instructors frequently reminded us that flying can be unpredictable, and to be prepared always.

Life too can be unpredictable. Some days the clouds roll in, the weather gets bumpy, and your sightlines become obscured. You may lose track of the horizon and your vision amid challenges. Those are the times to reconnect with your knowledge, training, and support system. If you have built a strong foundation, you will be able to weather life’s storms.

The flight school of life is not a “one and done” experience. Career changes, life changes, unexpected obstacles—these are the situations when you might need to go back to the basics for a while, do another round of learning and training. Revisit your dream and continue to build your foundation. Before you know it, you’ll be flying high in a new direction.

What “flight school” are you attending and what are you learning?

As always, Fly High,


Want to know more? Need help navigating your current flight school? Drop me a line at captainbarbarabell.com and of course check out my book, Flight Lessons: Navigating Through Life’s Turbulence and Learning to Fly High.

#flightschool, #veterans, #coaching, #mentoring, #leadership

Photo: US Navy