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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Motivation: Focus

“Focus on where you want to go,  
Not on the fear of failure
or the runway left behind.” 

Focus: The Power Within 

Successful people bathe in the power of focus. They grasp the challenges of life and use them to their benefit. They focus on the picture the 3000 pieces will create after they solve the puzzle. Not on the difficulty. They have the ability to thread their mind through the eye of a needle and sew their life together in a tapestry of perfection. Pilots know that each test they face is one that will strengthen their wings enabling them to soar higher.

Challenges—Nobody is exempt from a rainy day.

A successful person knows where to focus. Pilots know how to fly in the rain. They use the water to grow and nurture their life and talents. They have the wisdom to know that the rain will not last forever, and they use this time to regroup, rebuild, and strengthen their wings. They do not focus on the pain of getting wet and being locked inside, nor do they complain the rain will never end. Successful people know it will. Pilots wait out the rainy days while they study for their instrument rating. If the storm lasts a little longer than they had hoped, they are ready to fly through the cloudy days.


Shift the Focus—change your state.

Successful people know that all a blue day needs is a splash of red to turn it purple. Pilots look forward to the blue days, knowing they are far and few between. Successful people know that whatever is bothering them, they can change their feelings by shifting their focus. They can turn sadness into joy. If pilots have a bad day they take off and leave their problems behind.


Shift your focus to anything other than what plagues you. 

Sing, paint, run, read, and get out of your mind. Pilots know how to leave their problems on the ground. They know how to navigate the weather. They know how to spread their wings and fly, even on the darkest days. They also have the wisdom to wait out the greatest storms, because they do not last forever. 


Focus on the solution, not on the problem.

Successful people do not see problems—they see challenges with solutions. A challenge provides opportunities to learn and grow. Pilots know that problems drown a person in negativity, but a challenge teaches them how to fly.

When a pilot loses an engine, they do not focus on the failure. They focus on how to restart their engine, and where to land. Pilots focus on the solution, not the problem.

Worry—The antichrist to Focus.

Worrying about what has happened before, prevents success of the future. A pilot never focuses on the runway left behind. A successful person lives in the now, and focuses on the present. That is why they call it a gift. 

Single-minded focus—The key to Success.

Successful people know that the only reason they will fail is by allowing their mind to drift to someplace other than the task at hand. Pilots possess the technical skills to fly their plane despite what happens en-route. They know how to focus on the task. If they experience something new, they focus on how to handle the experience and create a solution, not on the fear of the unknown.
If a pilot’s mind wanders to what if I don't succeed, instead of flying the plane, they have just taken their focus from where they want to go, to fear. Pilots do not fly in fear. They fly in confidence with decisive direction.
Focus on the success you deserve,
And achieve it.  


  1. Excellent post Karlene! Focus has to be one of the biggest areas we can all improve upon. I'm printing this out and posting it on my wall.

    1. Thank you so much Brent! Yes... it is. I think the problem can also be when we focus on the wrong thing. Thank you so much for the comment!

  2. Karlene, two words: POWER POST!!! This is the best Monday Motivation to date!! I must say that there are people who look very happy on the outside but deeply hurting within. They focus on the failures and not what they have in the present and focus for the future. The power of worry is like a cancerous tumour that grows within a person's brain. It is very destructive and yes I was born with chronic worry syndrome however I am correcting that successfully thanks to the of posts like these.

    1. Jeremy, I could not have said this better. We can prevent those tumors!! I also really love "Power Post!" Awesome. :) Thank you for the great comment!

  3. "Sing, paint, run, read, and get out of your mind." I love that! Some people have a MUCH harder time compartmentalizing than others, and that antichrist, worry, can consume them. It's hard to watch, and even harder to feel if it ever happens to you. I wonder if it's nurture or nature???

    1. Oh... that's an interesting question. I'm thinking both. Our little brains are programmed as we grow. But the interesting thing is sometimes it's not what is really happening, but how we interpret what is happening.

      I know we can unlearn this behavior called worry.

  4. Awesome post Karlene! The right focus will get us far.

    Thank you!

    1. Thank you for the comment Cecilie. Now I'm going to focus on the gym and food and editing. In Amsterdam. :)

  5. "Focus" and "Be the Captain of your Life"... This should be taught in aviation schools. These are words from a true leader. A Leader is a Mentor. A Mentor has Character. A Leader is never aggressive with his own opinions unless it is extremely necessary, because he behaves with style. Be the Leader of your Life. Be the Captain of your Life. Focus and be confident, not overconfident because it isn't good and makes you inflexible to adapt to the circumstances (it is also inelegant and unprofessional) . Look straight ahead and see things in a simpler way and never have the perspective of impossibility. And you know what? If you fail, that is not a problem if you know how stand up again and keep walking... This is also the point of focusing and being a Leader, right? This is the kind of people our industry needs.

    1. Alex, that is so true... if we fail, we get up. Failure is just another way of saying... lesson experienced and learned. Thank you so much for your comment!!!

  6. Every now and again, even those of us "focused" people need to have our heads reset. Sometimes we plug away so long at the immediate task, we also lose sight of the whole picture. Focusing on the big picture helps us find those solutions instead of getting stuck in the problem. Mahalo for the reminder.

    1. Thanks for the great comment. When I hear focusing and losing sight of the big picture... I think of the pilots who focused on a light, losing the big picture, and impacted the terrain. Not pretty. We always need to maintain the big picture. Thank you!!!


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