Thursday, October 22, 2015

Doing Better

After yesterday's flight...
some joy and relief
They're right. I can't "fix" me. I will always be, by nature, hyper critical with myself and I will sometimes judge myself too harshly. And then after judging too harshly I'll wallow in my judgements, judge myself for judging, and carry that frustration for hours or days after.

As I practice good self critique I'll do that less and less often but the potential will always be there. It's part of who I am. It's something I've been doing for 45 years and I am REALLY good at it. If they gave out certificates or "Master" titles or whatever for judging oneself harshly I'd be Master, Gold Seal, SuperDuper, Top Dog many times over. Ask anyone who knows me!

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.... I can't fix me. How do I move forward? How do I finish my flight instructor certificate when this one personality trait is having a negative and material impact on my progress? Something that my CFI said when we last talked struck a cord... he says this often.... examiners want to see IMMEDIATE CORRECTIVE ACTION when an error occurs in the check ride flight. I also remembered the revelation I had to have in order to solo. The revelation that I didn't have to be perfect, I had to recognize errors or conditions that were not as desired and fix it quickly.

With those words and thoughts floating around in my head I decided to do what worked for me in the past with one modification.

  1. When there is something wrong in my flying - identify whatever it is and fix it. I'm experienced enough now that I can relatively easily identify both errors and fixes. So I'm to do that as I fly. When something is slightly wrong, fix it quickly. If I stay on top of it "major" wrong won't happen. 
  2. Recognize and accept, in spite of my best efforts, I will have days, maneuvers, flights or whatever where I don't fix it. Where I will start judging myself and beating myself up. It's going to happen. There is no prevention for that. So yesterday I resolved I would forgive myself for when I do that. For the last time and the next time and the next time after that. I'll forgive myself as quickly as possible and move on. And when I fail to forgive myself, I'll forgive myself for that too.

The good news is, it seems to work. I forgave myself for Sunday and Monday and Tuesday. And resolved yesterday to fly, and when I make mistakes, take immediate and corrective action. Instead of focusing on being perfect, I focused on catching when the plane started to do what I didn't want it to do and correcting it quickly. I went up and did all of the air work I hadn't done recently, emergency approach to landing and practiced soft field take offs and landings.

What I found was, my flying was significantly better and not at all frustrating. I nailed the emergency approach to landing while talking and teaching as I did it. When my soft field landing wasn't exactly as I wanted I decided to try something different. I did the different thing and got different results. Then I modified what I was doing again and got even better results.

Looking through the list of flying maneuvers that could come up in the CFI ride, I've performed all of them to spec in the last month - first try - with the possible exception of soft field landings. Those are iffy. So I am a lot further along than I thought I was. :) There's a light at the end of the tunnel and I don't think it's a train.


  1. Are you an engineer be a use engineers always want to excel and be the best and if they are not the best, they never give up until they reach their best. I know
    I'm married to an engineer. Drives me nuts at times. But in the end, it's the way to go. Terri

    1. Yes, indeed, I am an engineer, by nature and by profession for quite some time :) And you're right... the drive to excel and be the best and never give up until at the best is very strong in me!