When opportunity knocks, step out on faith.

As one of my tours in Washington, D.C. was coming to a close, I received a call from my favorite mentor from Test Pilot School, then Captain Steve “Smiley” Enewold. (RADM Enewold retired as a two-star admiral and ran the Joint Strike Fighter program). As a mentor and mentee, Smiley and I shared a special professional connection. Years later, he would be the guest speaker at my retirement from the Navy, and I would serve as master of ceremonies for his.

I still vividly remember that phone conversation. “Hey, Barb, I’d like you to come work for me,” he said in his warm, smiling voice. His call sign Smiley fits his personality perfectly.

Without even knowing what the job entailed, I immediately responded, “Yes!”

When you are lucky enough to have a mentor like Smiley offer you a job or opportunity, jump on it! Step out on faith. The details can be worked out later.

Leaving Washington, DC, I went back to Patuxent River, Maryland, to work in the EA-6B Prowler aircraft program office at Naval Air Systems Command. The Prowler is the electronic warfare aircraft I had flown after Test Pilot School during my test tour. The program offices and Naval Air Systems Command are responsible for providing full life-cycle support for naval aviation, from procurement of new aircraft and associated systems to aircraft upgrades and logistics.

Too often we think we must have it all figured out before we head down a new path or begin a new opportunity. At the point in my career when Smiley offered me the job, I had become quite adept at risk taking. I came to relish it in fact. I had become comfortable stepping out on faith and trusting that something positive would come from the risks and opportunities I took.

While working for Smiley, I was promoted to Commander and selected for my first command, an equivalent CEO position. I moved halfway around the world for my job as Commander, Defense Contract Management Command Australia, located in Melbourne, Australia. See where taking risks might lead?

My question to you: Is there an opportunity in your life that you have been hesitant to move forward with because you think you must know every step you will need to take before you get started?

Now is the time to step out on faith and get going. Take the first step and see where it takes you. Then, take the next step and the next, and you’ll be surprised where you end up.

I promise.

Remember, Fly high,


Need help with your “flight plan”? Drop me a line and let’s get started. Want to know more about where taking risk might lead? Check out my book: Flight Lessons: Navigating Through Life’s Turbulence and Learning to Fly High.

#mentor, #mentorship, # leadership #risktaking

Step out on faith
Photo by: sammie-chaffin-Zdf3zn5XXtU-unsplash