June 5th, 1997. A day that will live in infamy. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) I had visualized myself doing this flight from the day I started flight training, and it had finally arrived! This photo is from the day of my first solo flight. I was nervous, but also extremely excited to complete the takeoff, pattern, and landing as the sole occupant of the aircraft.
I still remember my dad being there video recording my flight. As my instructor hopped out of the plane and I taxied away, my dad asked “Do you really think she’s ready?” My instructor, without hesitation, said “Yes!”. That made my dad feel more at ease watching his daughter take off into the wild blue yonder all on her own. I think it made my instructor feel better too!
That day was a huge success. Not only for the fact of accomplishing my first solo flight, but for my self confidence as well. Being completely responsible for the machine, knowing how to operate the systems, communicating with the control tower and relying on the skills I learned from my instructors solidified my belief that I could do this. Not to mention it was so much fun that I don’t think I stopped smiling for the entire week after!
Gotta See It To Be It..
But of course, the skills and confidence did not happen over night. There was months of training and logging hours in the aircraft. My instructor would have never sent me out unless he believed I was ready. One of the methods our instructors used was a visualization technique to help learn new maneuvers and procedures. They called it Chair Flying.
You simply sit down, close your eyes, and visualize yourself working through the steps of each procedure. You speak out loud the checklist items and move your feet, arms, and hands, just as you would if you were sitting in the cockpit. It really works and is an invaluable exercise to use, even if you are not learning how to fly an airplane.
Visualize to Realize..
Visualization is a powerful skill. If you can picture yourself as a self-confident individual doing and accomplishing your goals, then you will get there. But it takes practice. Creating a positive image of yourself in your mind will lead you to develop thoughts, feelings, and actions that will move you forward on your path of growth.
Take 5 minutes and sit with your eyes closed and use this visualization technique to practice and solidify your own “chair flying” self confidence routine. Are you working toward a goal in your personal life that would benefit from some time of quiet thought and practice? Visualize it! Do you dream of writing the next great American novel? Visualize it! Practice this every day for a week and see how you feel. Go on, give it a try. One positive step begets another. Action leads to more action. What have you got to lose?
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