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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, April 14, 2014

Soar with the flow of life!

Monday Motivation:

“Do the best you can, and then let go. When we release the outcome life works out just as it is supposed to. 
There is perfect timing for everything."

With two novels written, Flight For Control and Flight ForSafety, and the third in the works, and a motivation book in my computer, as well as two children’s books in chute…I had decided to attend graduate school in 2015, so I could put some projects to bed first.

However, with Asiana crashing in SFO, a couple planes landing at the wrong airports and a freighter hitting a hill on approach, I decided I could not wait another year. I have to start my mission sooner than later—to improve aviation safety

Thus I applied to—Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with plans to earn a PhD in Aviation Safety. I filled out the application, received fabulous letters of recommendation, and wrote essays defining my goals, time management strategies and how I would make navigate the course. There was one more thing I had to do—take the GRE.

I bought books. Planned my study sessions. Worked online. Every spare moment I was studying flash cards for vocabulary, or learning how to do a math problem or two. Well, like all challenges in life, I ran into a few snags. My husband ended up in the hospital and out of commission for a couple months, then a few heart procedures. Then grandkids needed babysitting, a new grandbaby born, and unplanned trips with work. Yes…this was my life—short of time and delightfully complicated.

Despite all the challenges, I took the GRE. I was thoroughly embarrassed by my score—as I am the type of person who strives for that 100%. I did average. Could I get in with an average GRE?

My interview went great, I have strong work and life experience, and managed two masters degrees while working. Would all this outweigh my test scores? Were these test scores normal? I had to come to grips with my demons—I might not get into graduate school...this year.

I learned a valuable lesson during this process. I realized the power of acceptance for being human. I did the best I could under the circumstances of my life. I actually learned a ton during the GRE study process. Most importantly, I put myself out there, worked hard and took a chance. I also came to a very calm and peaceful acceptance of releasing the outcome. I want to get into Graduate school, but...

Maybe we don't get what we want, 
maybe we get what we need.

If I don’t get in this year, I will have another year to accomplish all I have to finish. I could study and take the GRE again and improve my scores. I know that I will attend graduate school at ERAU. Will it be this year? Will it be next year? Or the following year?

The point is, we don't always have to be perfect right out of the gate. Good things take time. And if we don't succeed, we can learn from our mistakes and do it again. Success doesn't mean we don't fall down. Success means being able to get back up when we do, and to keep trying. 

Sometimes all we can do is the best we can. 
And then we have to let life unfold as it should.  

Do we have to succeed to be successful? 
Or is showing up a success in itself?

Make sure to put my novels on your reading list!
They are part of the grand plan...

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene


  1. Yes, absolutely!
    A failure is nothing more than a postponed success :-D

    1. So true! And sometimes the delay works to our favor too! The ultimate success!

  2. Oh if only there were space for all the "failures" that I have learned from in my life thus far...

    I "failed" to set the plane up properly for a power on stall when I was a student and nearly scared myself to death when the nose was pointing straight up into the sky (Or at least it felt like it). Now power on stalls are one of my favorite maneuvers to teach.

    I failed to know the Part 141 regulations when I was workign on my instrument rating (the first time) and ended up passing the checkride only to have my application rejected by the FAA because I started the checkride more than 60 days after graduating the Part 141 instrument course. Now I am a flight instructor and (because I went through the instrument training AGAIN under Part 61) am a very confident instrument pilot.

    As an Internet entrepreneur, blogger, and parent, I can say that "failing" is really just another way to say "learning" if you're attutide is right. The old entrepreneur maxim "Fail Fast; Fail Forward" applies hugely to my life - as it does to everyones. It's all about perspective and attitude.

    If you aren't failing at something, you're not trying anything new! How boring is that?

    1. Andrew, this is awesome! I think the experiences in life, some call failures and others learning moments... all turn into valuable experience. YOU are a better instructor for what you have been through.

      Your last comment... Oh... so true. Safe is boring. Stretching and growing because you don't fear the stumble and fall is so the fun part of life. And actually gets you farther. I love that maxim too! Thanks for the great comment.

  3. Loved this one! All experiences in life, successful ones or failures, are important in shaping our lives, our career and ourselves. It's wrong that people don't talk about their failures more often. A few years ago, I saw a paper in Nature news that we should write failures on CVs so that the next generation realizes that success only comes hand to hand with failures.

    1. Mona, What a great idea is that!! If I were hiring pilots and I saw the pilot that made a ton of mistakes (once) I would be comforted thinking... they won't do that again, and look at how they dealt with the challenges! Yes, we are all human and I wrote this post for all those young people who think you have to be perfect. They think that success only comes to those who don't fail. But in fact, those that fail are often the strongest from the experience.
      Thank you so much for your comment!

  4. Great post and important attitude to share!

    From my blog, I hear from so many kids about their flight training. When they write about how upset they are with their poor performance, horrible landings, etc, I rejoice! Why? Because I know they are LEARNING!

    I'm coming up on 20 years in the A320, and I'm still LEARNING!

    Let that be a lesson to you, folks! ;-)


    1. Thanks for the comment Eric. I know there isn't a day that goes by I don't learn too. It's when we stop learning is when we have problems. Thanks so much for your comment!

  5. Please tell me you're going to go to ERAU's Daytona campus. I need you to talk my daughter out of becoming a fighter pilot, lol. Seriously though, I'm proud to know to know you. You make all of us look good ; )

    1. Ahhh... you are so sweet. Okay, send me your daughter we'll have a talk. lol. And for the other part... you have to wait until tomorrow! :)

  6. Karlene,

    Thank you for sharing your struggles, fears and for telling the truth. So many people are concerned with looking perfect they don't do anything that might cause someone to see an imperfection. I tell my kids that they are perfect, perfectly created to be exactly who they were intended to be. They are not accidents, mistakes, oops, or anything other than exactly perfect.

    Sorry I got off topic, back to you and the GRE. I have a feeling that 50% is going to be more than enough to get you into school this year. I think that the total package that you bring to the table is not only competitive but it is impressive. If you were 25, had no life experience with just a passing thought of attending Grad School, I would think they might view the GRE score as a negative. But I suspect the administrators know how difficult it is to pass the GRE with all the distractions.

    Besides the 50% score doesn't mean that you got a 50 out of 100. It means that you scored in the 50th percentile and you are average when compared with everyone who took that test. You are right where you need to be. By the way when I took the GRE as a college senior, I made it to the third percentile meaning that 97% of everyone who took the test scored higher than I did. I didn't consider that a failure because I still did better than the lowly 2%.

    1. Rob, you are awesome. Thanks for the smile and laugh. I love the pride in the 3%. Yes... better than those others for sure.

      I think if we have the need to show people we are perfect we a lose sight of being who we are. So many people don't know who they are any more. Your kids are lucky to have you! Just finished a great book... Daring Greatly, by Brene' Brown. Very good. Wish I had this one 30 years ago.

      Thanks for the comment. Great news today!

  7. During the past weeks I've learned a lesson...

    If no one can help you, you can do it by yourself. And only you need to believe in your dreams.

    A very long time ago, a runner had to work really hard to win an intercity challenge and had to run more than 400 kilometers. He spent 5 years trying. He won the challenge. And nobody have done that previously.

    Now more than 22.000 runners believed they could do it, and they reached the same goal of that first runner.
    Nelson Mandela spent 9.000 days in prison during a time when white people tortured black people. He was alone, with problems at home, but believed he could change his nation and the world. From a Victorian poem, he was able to feel motivated and made him graduate FROM PRISON.

    Nelson got out of there and did what he believed he could do.
    Margaret Thatcher came from a very honest and humble family, owners of a bakery store. During her time, politics was only for the men. No women was allowed to get involved in such subject.

    She earned a place at Oxford with a full scholarship financial coverage.

    She changed her country, and she made politics possible to all women in the world. And continues to inspire all women to reach their goals and become professionals of what they aim to be.
    Walt Disney had been called dumb and even his teacher would tell him he lacked on creativity, for drawing an insignificant mouse. It was actually Mickey Mouse.

    He built up a legacy that continues to inspire future generations, and a new world.
    President Lincoln failed in business twice, his wife died, he had a nervous break down and was defeated in 8 elections.
    C'mmon... You can do it, I can do it, he can do it.

    You just need to believe and have faith, and If you have good team, it's even better.


    1. Alex, this is the most amazing comment.Thank you. And something that everyone should read. Yes...YOU can do it! Always remember that.

    2. I promise that I will get there. Right over there...

      At the top.

  8. I love that saying!!! Failure is the stepping stone. Endless examples. And I think we all fret just a little bit. Thank you so much for the comment!


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