Things can happen very quickly both in life and in an airplane. If you aren’t careful situations can deteriorate and before you know it you’re barely able to keep up. In aviation, we call this “being behind the airplane.”
To avoid getting behind the airplane, pilots do a couple of things. First we create contingency plans. We talked about those in a previous post. Another strategy is to remind ourselves to think ahead. In fact, when flying, my favorite question is “What are the next two things I need to do?” If I am about to change altitude, my answer might sound something like this:
1) Pitch the nose up and steadily add power. 2) When I’m 50 feet below the desired altitude lower then nose and reduce power.
Like contingency planning, the purpose is to make certain surprises are minimal. In an airplane, there is enough that can go wrong. The last thing a pilot needs is to create their own emergency by being behind the plane.
Life and success are like that too. You can better insure your success if you are thinking ahead of the situation. For example, if you are going to be giving a presentation later in the week, you might ask yourself “What are the next two things I need to do?” It might be something like “1) put together my rough draft and 2) start looking for pictures to add to my slides.”
You don’t have to walk through every detail of your plan, you just need enough information to keep yourself on track and make certain you are making progress toward your goals. The purpose of asking yourself about the next two steps is to avoid surprises and make certain you are staying on top of your goals.
So, what are the next two things you need to do, to get where you’d like to be?