A Fighter Pilot's Guide to Reaching New Heights in Business and Life

Running Time: 1:45



Rob Waldman

About the Trainer – Lt. Col. Rob (Waldo) Waldman Known as “The Wingman,” Waldo is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and a decorated F-16 fighter pilot with more than 65 combat missions. He also earned his wings in business as a top sales producer for several companies before founding his own peak performance firm, Wingman Consulting. As author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Never Fly Solo, Waldo travels the world teaching others to reach new... Read More

But here’s the kicker, folks. When we fail to appreciate those men and women in our lives; the crew chiefs, the unsung heroes, who are going to bat to make sure our jets are ready to fly, if we don’t appreciate them and check their six, they are going to check out. Then the business of flying fighters and combat, where our lives are on the line, we need somebody there for us, we can’t afford to have them pulling it back and being complacent and easing up; when they should be pushing it up and being committed to the mission. We need them to be giving it 110% and it doesn’t happen overnight, folks. We have to walk each other’s flight line, don’t we?

Get out there and connect. Pick up the phone; talk to the buddy across the country who’s there answering your phones and providing the paperwork for you. Go out to your best customers and thank them. Go out with your new crew chief that’s working in that home office, the administrator. Take him or her to lunch. Sit down and ask them, “What’s going on at home?” See if they’re not working like Sergeant Summers to keep their fitness. See if you can do something to make a difference for them. Appreciate the things they’re doing.

Behind the scenes. So God forbid, if your engine fails or if the missiles come, where your jet gets over G and they need a really close inspection on those small cracks that might turn into big cracks, you’re going to know they’re going to be pushing it up because of the relationship and trust they have in you …

Alright, now. This is a squadron or a flight of F16’s, folks. A five ship formation, flight lead out in the front, and that’s you. You see, we never fly by the seat of our pants. We never, ever fly solo. We’re prepared, committed; we’re in touch with our inner wingman, but now we’ve got to work as a team; because there are times when we can’t do it all on our own. Ray Crock once said, “None of us are as good as all of us.” At the end of the day sometimes we need a wingman to help us see what we can’t see.

The last value I want to share with you, when it comes to providing mutual support with your wingman, is service. Then we’re going to get into some tactics on how we can be better wingmen. But service before self is core value number 2 in the Air Force; number one being integrity first.

Service before self. The key to building trust with your wingman, especially when their engines have failed, we’ve got to give each other our wings. It’s called being a wing giver …

There’s two ways we define fear. What average people define fear as forget everything and run. Right? You’re going into work, getting ready to make the call and making that decision. You’re like, “I’ll go ahead and go to Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, call it a day.” Imagine if every fighter pilot and soldier in the country, every businessman or woman aborted the mission, as soon as they knew they were going to get shot at. Where would we be?

We can’t forget everything and run. That’s not what a wingman does. That’s what average people do. Let the competitors do that. Let the “losers” do that. We want to be winners. We need to focus our energy and accept responsibility for the fact that we have our wings on our chest, we rose our right hand to serve, we made a commitment to start our company, work for Dale Carnegie, be an accountant, work for Aflac. We’ve got to focus our energy and find out what it is that gives lift to our wings and be responsible for that.