First Lead Yourself with Elizabeth McCormick, Former U.S. Army Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot & Motivational Speaker

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As a sought-after keynote speaker, Elizabeth teaches from her professional life, sharing stories about her time spent as a decorated Black Hawk Helicopter Pilot and Chief Warrant Officer 2 for the US Army.

She has received many awards in the army, and supported United Nations peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, receiving the Meritorious Service Medal for her excellence in service. In 2011, Elizabeth was awarded the US Congressional Veteran Commendation for her commitment to serving her country and community as a disabled veteran.

An authority on Leadership and Veterans Issues with the media, Elizabeth has been seen on ABC, CBS, FOX, CW, MSNBC, and been featured in the Wall Street Journal, and more. A best-selling author, her personal development book, The P.I.L.O.T. Method; the 5 Elemental Truths to Leading Yourself in Life, has sold more than 35,000 copies! Elizabeth also has more than 19 total books out; with her series of small format business success tip books: Soar 2 Success in a variety of Leadership, Culture, and Entrepreneurial topics.

In this podcast, Elizabeth and Cindra talk:

  • Why we need to FLY – First lead yourself
  • How she keeps service front and center in her work
  • The 5 elemental truths in the PILOT Method
  • 3 lessons she learned in the military about mindset
  • How you can find your message in your mess
“So much of success happens when you just show up.”- @pilotspeaker
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“We’re sabotaging when we don’t lead ourselves well.”-@pilotspeaker
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 “ If you don’t believe in your potential, no one else will.” -@pilotspeaker
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“How can you physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally show up as your best self on a consistent basis.”-@pilotspeaker
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 “How you show up, it impacts everything else you do.” -@pilotspeaker
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Full Transcription:

Cindra: Elizabeth. I’m so excited that you are here today on the High-Performance Mindset podcast, so welcome.

Elizabeth: I’m so excited to be here. Thank you.

Cindra: We are just chatting about how we first met, and I first met you at a national speakers Association conference at Epcot we’re having like this reception I remember talking with you. There was a few my colleagues when we are talking about speaking and marketing books and I’m really excited to have you on the podcast. I’ve been following your work. Since then, which is I think a couple years ago, at this point, so yeah, I’m excited that you’re here.

Elizabeth: I’m glad to be here and I just want to say, I can’t wait till we can be live and have another event like that again soon.

Cindra: Exactly, it drew me to my soul. So to start us off, Elizabeth, I’d love for you to tell us about your passion and a little bit about what you do?

Elizabeth: Oh, so now my passion is. I, I kind of have it boiled down to a tagline is to inspire through experience. So everything is about how can I make a better experience when people interact with me when they, you know, I want to have a speaking engagement. When I’m you know through my book. I mean, just my website. Everything is about is about inspiring through that experience so and then I speak I write my written 19 books now I do it all a lot of online courses and videos and other things too, because that’s where we are right now with the world right now. So I’m just anyway I can share my message and I can, I can tell you, like the passion is every day. I don’t share my message or you know whatever knowledge I have that I can impart every day. I’m not sharing it is a day. Somebody’s not getting it.

Cindra: Huh.

Elizabeth: Yeah. And when we’re not sharing our gifts were with holding them back and we’re we potentially could hurt someone who could be helped, so that when I got that. When I shifted that that has I like I hit the ground running every morning, because I don’t want to inadvertently hurt someone by not giving them something they might need.

Cindra: I think that’s a really powerful message to start Elizabeth because there’s a few things that I’m thinking about, I’m thinking about maybe young people who are just getting into speaking or, you know, into podcasting and maybe they’re holding themselves back because of what people will think when they post something on you know your video on Instagram. But I like this idea of like if I’m holding back I’m hurting somebody, and I’m not serving the way that I can serve with my gifts.

Elizabeth: Yeah, it’s it truly was a big mind shift for me that I had about nine years ago and I started speaking 10 years ago so the first year I kind of played small, I didn’t put myself out

there as much. I didn’t, you know, push things out as much and I still I’m not like the best person to do alive or a live stream or anything like that. It’s not my favorite thing to do and that doesn’t mean I don’t have things accessible and out there and other and other modalities and other forms.

Cindra: What do you feel like was the moment that you decided to kind of play big in this way and really get out there with your message. Was there a moment? Was there an ah ha you know, tell us about nine years ago what maybe helped you think of this in this clear way. Yeah.

Elizabeth: So actually I had a coach that I was working with and you know I knew I was already quote: “Professionally speaking”, but yet my website wasn’t done and my book, my book wasn’t done and I had all these things started, and all this activity. Without move propelling it into actual like finished marketable things. And so I was working with a coach, and she was talking to me and what we figured what we ended up like when this conversation having is at one point, when I was in the military. I was stopped and physically abused by another my coworker another pilot and went on for almost a year. So it was very traumatic. Like it was it was a traumatic experience it on. I don’t recommend it. I mean, I don’t mean to say that in just a lightness, but it just, it was, it had a big impact on me. It affected a lot of infected everything in my life at that time. And I realized that I was, I knew I could be successful. Okay, what I didn’t know was if he found out or heard about me, wherever he is. That person is that how that would impact me so I was playing small and getting someone that you know at this point was 12 years earlier. I was getting someone from 12 years in my past power over my decision making them. Yeah. So, and that’s kind of, whoa, what am I doing, you know why, you know. So what if it, you know, I can handle myself better now. These things happen. I still have the 57 pages of police reports here. You know if I need them. So, you know, I kind of had to kind of own my past and own that struggle and then from there, once I released that I could release and say, Okay, you know what, I’m not here to do anything other than to help people. In this world and inspire people and help people. And that is my gift that is what I’m here for. Through my stories through my through whatever it is that I do andIf I’m not helping people then by not offering things on creating that that barrier that could be hurting them and that just shifted me

Cindra: Well, I think, first the aha moment. You know, it’s great that a coach was helping you figure this out. But, I mean, I know there’s people who are listening who are thinking, there’s something I need to let go of in my past that’s impacting me that’s holding me back that I’m playing small because of, you know, so an incredible example there. Tell us a little bit about, you know, maybe kind of go back a little bit and tell us a bit about your, your decision to join the military. You are a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. I’m sure we’re going to talk a lot more, but tell us about, okay, why did you decide to join and a little bit about what that was like for you there?

Elizabeth: Yeah, so I didn’t know it was hard. I didn’t know that army had only let women into the, into aviation and flying helicopters about 15 years 1315 years I’ve seen different data on before that I didn’t know any of that stuff. And I was unemployed wife. Okay, go ahead, college I, you know, was ended up the only job I could get was working in a pizza place and I was just, I

was coming from a place of mystery. So I realized the marriage wasn’t working out, I realized me living by him with him at the military base and get working in a pizza place wasn’t working out. And and I talked about this in my book, the pilot method is, you know, sometimes you’re in situations where you feel like you have nothing in your control.

Cindra: Mm hmm.

Elizabeth: And that’s exactly what I was in in that moment where I felt like there was absolutely nothing I could control. I couldn’t control where I lived. I couldn’t control that I couldn’t get a job other than pizza I you know I could, there was so little in my control in that environment at that time that I had like that. Two in the morning, aha, going, I need to start focusing on what I can control.

Cindra: Yeah, for sure.

Elizabeth: Yeah, and it totally shift out of the negative and out of focusing on those negative things and into the positive and so that’s when I when I did that. Then I said, Okay, what, what can I control. So I looked at, I call them in my speech, the ‘starter’ husband. So it’s the only nice thing I can say, so the starter husband. I looked at him and I thought, okay, you know, we’re married, I’m staying. I’m here, but I’m not happy with the job and you know and I kind of looked at it all objectively without that emotion and said, Okay, what can I do. And so I decided that if he could be in the military. I could be in the military. I could do that again didn’t know it was hard, so I decided to join the military and once I did that, I decided I wanted the coolest job.

Cindra: Yeah.

Elizabeth: And we didn’t, you know, didn’t know what that was, though, so I researched it. I asked around I interviewed a bunch of people. And everyone said the coolest job was being a helicopter pilot I’ll do that. I know it’s hard.

Cindra: I’m thinking about what you just said about being hard and I’m thinking about like being a woman in that space where you re they’re just starting to let women be a pilot right and just in general, being the military I not been in the military, but I worked in a lot of like male dominated environment. Yeah, and it’s not easy. It’s hard. It’s hard to navigate it.

Elizabeth: So, well then. Okay. So take the male dominated environments that you’ve been an ad in physicality. So like physical fitness that we have to do every morning and wearing boots and wearing you know, bearing a heavy backpack rucksack they call it heaven carrying a heavy rock and climb mountains and hills and Karen our weapon and I mean all the other physical pieces of it that really aren’t geared towards women like body armor doesn’t fit for one rucksacks are built for women, you know, and so it was a totally different time. ,but again, I didn’t, I didn’t know. And it wasn’t until I actually got into flight school so I had to go through basic training to warrant officer candidate school to flight school by the time I got to flight school and I found out that that when I had submitted my application. Basically, it’s a packet.

When I submitted my packet and went to the Pentagon and when they had that meeting at the Pentagon. They only had two spots in the nation. Wow, I didn’t know that. I didn’t know any of that. And it wasn’t until I was, you know, immersed in that environment in that they told me that, because I have to tell you, if I had known there was only going to be two spots in the entire United States of America. I would not have been so confident in any of those other situations. But what I really learned from that is, you know, we’re not always meant to know all the obstacles and our odds and everything else. It really has to come from your vision. Your, your belief of yourself and your abilities first and once you have that, what happens is is so beautiful. Once you have that belief in yourself or a belief in a vision and you know that’s going to happen. What happens after that is suddenly all these opportunities that support that vision start happening.

Cindra: Yeah. Well, I think it’s also like about energy right the energy you put out there. And those things. You know, then end up happening and I appreciate what you said, Elizabeth about like you weren’t focused on the obstacles. But if you were focused on the obstacles, then that might have changed your mindset or your confidence. And so many times we can be focused on the things that are ahead of us and then we kind of lack effort because we’re not even sure it’s possible for us, the hard parts?

Elizabeth: Stubbornness. Stubbornness, I just, I refuse to quit. Like they wanted to quit. And when I got into flight school I was the only girl in my class and you know, I drew a flight instructor who had gender bias and didn’t want me to succeed and when you know, he tried to fail me every day. I mean, it was painful. Every day he tried to fail me and I just showed up. And so that’s another thing that I really learned and I really stress is that when things get hard there are lots of people in this world that quit, like they quit. But if you really believe. And that’s the key thing because if you know if it’s not your underlying passion or how you make a living, or, you know, and it’s hard and you know some things aren’t for you and that’s okay too. You know, don’t stick with something that that’s not a good fit for who you are and how you want to show up in the world. But when it is and things are hard. And I just kept like every morning. I’m here. Here I am. Okay, here I am, you know, I just refused to allow anyone else to determine the next steps for me.

Cindra: Hmm, like you felt like you were when I think about how you even got to the military was like you wanted to control what you could write you wanted to control your life and it’s like you could have listened to you know this flight instructor that said that women shouldn’t be able to fly, but it was like you decided to be in charge of what you are doing. Instead of letting other people dictate that?

Elizabeth: Exactly, exactly. And so, you know, for everyone, you know, watching or listening. I’ll tell you know so much of success happens when you just show up.

Cindra: Yeah.

Elizabeth: You just, you know, be our present are focused are intentional and say, you know what I’m here for whatever this purposes, but I think a lot of people, they, they don’t they don’t show up or they show up on autopilot. They’re not intentional, they’re not, they don’t give you their full the gift of their presence and when they do things.

Cindra: So, we can dive into. I know, right. So give us a sense of when you left the military. What, what made you decide to. All right, you’re, you’re good with that you’re done with that. That was your decision to leave. And then, okay, you became a speaker right and an author. Tell us about that transition from military to keynote speaker?

Elizabeth: So I actually worked in corporate America for eight years. So I started off in inventory management and got to purchasing management and worked up to commodity and vendor management and then in my last job, I was in over eight years was an international contract negotiator. Nice really good skill. Right, so I specialized in the international markets and it’s been an amazing skill that now to transfer over to negotiate speaking contracts, right, so that was the thinking It’s become really helpful for me, but what happened is I was working in the corporate job and I worked with three different companies over the eight years and over those three over those three companies. The last one I worked with ended up being five minutes from my house. So I went from driving 45 minutes to an hour in Dallas traffic to five minutes from my house. So all of a sudden I had like an extra hour to two hours a day depending on traffic. And I said, I’m gonna get involved in my community. So I was able to get involved with my kids and their school and the community more than I ever had before. And so as I’m getting involved. You know, people are like, oh, you know, so what do you do, you know, boring contract negotiation kind of stuff. And they’re like, and then somebody says, oh, don’t let her full year she was a helicopter pilot and so all of a sudden, it started going like this. I have everybody started finding out that I was I was an army veteran and helicopter pilot and they, you know, so all of a sudden I get this request, will you come speak for career day at our school, will you come speak for this assembly, will you come speak. And so I would speak one place and I get 10 more requests. So I speak another place. I get five new requests. So all of a sudden I hearing. I’m working. I’m still working a corporate job. And I am getting all these phone calls on my voicemail right when I get home at the end of the day, so I game would come home and I get these voicemails and I would. Some of them I wouldn’t do it my lunch hour, if I could, and some of them. I had to say no to. So I was turning a lot of them down. Okay, again, working, working, the corporate job and I’m one of them calls me and I call them back and I’m turning it down, I’m busy. I’m traveling to Japan and Sweden and England and I actually traveled more in that corporate job than I do, I do for a while as a speaker internationally and so I’m turning it down. And they’re like, whoa. We’ll pay you. And I’m like, shut the door. I could get paid. I mean, I’ve been doing this for like eight months for free. For schools and stuff, which was fine. But, you know, and I do pro bono once in a while to now, but I’m just like, really actually pay me and they taught. I think it was like $500 for a half hour 45 minute lunch thing. And I went, Wait, that’s more than I make an hour in my corporate job. I’ll take a vacation day. So I took a vacation day and I did the gig. And then I got another five requests and these requests started to pay and I’m so I use my vacation time and did a little bit here a little bit there. I did some of them. And I remember my keeper husband, I have now. Yeah, so my keeper. He’s, he’s like, you

know, Elizabeth, you are you really good you eat, and I’m like, You’re my husband, you’re supposed to say that right and like and he’s like, No. You’re really good. You need to do this full time and I’m like, no. I’m getting a great salary with benefits and traveling the world and all this, you know.

Elizabeth: You know. Yeah, exactly. It’s safe. I, I know what’s coming in. I had never been an entrepreneur, so I had been in a little bit in network marketing for fun, but I never like full time entrepreneur and my dad was a business owner, my dad owned a construction company and he worked his booty off all the time. So I’m like, no. I’m good. So I, you know, about three months after I started getting some paid engagements. I hadn’t we had it’s January 2009 to give you an idea of the timeframe. Okay, I walked into a division level meeting. So our company’s division, 250 people in a meeting our CEO from the Sweden headquarters was coming in to do us like a state of the union kind of address like the state of the company and January 2009. It was a pretty if we were in the midst of a recession. Right, and so the CEO came in and put a PowerPoint up and the PowerPoint was like oh state of the economy was all down right, slide number two forwards. You’re all laid off.

Cindra: No way.

Elizabeth: Yeah, laid off 250 people with a two-page PowerPoint. I was like, and in the back of my head, all I could think was, I know what I’m supposed to do. Oh, I’m supposed to. I’m supposed to go out and speak and do this. So everybody else was screaming and crying and pandemonium and oh my gosh, it was a mess. And I’m going. All right. Right on. Yeah. So I went through that they actually came to me and they’re like Elizabeth, you know, all those multi million dollar contracts, you’ve been negotiating us in for two years. We now need you to negotiate us out.

Cindra: No way. Yeah, talk about a tough job.

Elizabeth: So they asked me to stay for six months. So I for six months, I would draw my my regular salary and I would negotiate us out. But they didn’t want me to travel anymore. I had to use this new website called Skype.

Cindra: Skype.

Elizabeth: Skype was brand new back then I had to use this new website called Skype Skype to communicate with my vendors over internationally, which meant six little morning 10 at night. And weird hours and I would have to negotiate out of, out of all these contracts. So, um, but, you know, without travel I’m home every night. They gave me a chance to start working on that website that I didn’t finish until my coach kicked my butt and just start working on my book, which I didn’t finish until the coach kicked my butt. So, you know, I started going through all that helpful. Yeah, a coach is a good thing you really, really, it’s, it’s a good thing to hold you accountable, so on. But I went. So I went through all that and you know, and the great thing is, I knew my end day so I could say yes to us for new requests that are coming in as long as they

were after that day right and there were like, oh yeah, and the severance you would get if you left today if you stay till the very end, we’re going to give you that severance plus a bonus. So I actually was able to fund my transition because of that.

Cindra: That’s wonderful. And Elizabeth, as you were telling me that you know I thought about a few things I thought about like sometimes our biggest difficulties. Our biggest gifts you know and how I like this, Byron Katie and she says, ‘Life doesn’t happen like to you happens for you.’ and you know that there’s all this like messages about how you should be speaking and, you know, like all these who wanting to hear from you. But it’s like this full time job was safer. And so the all these messages were happening at the right time for you to make this transition

Elizabeth: Until it becomes the sledgehammer. Employment or something, you know, I mean, sometimes it takes something, you know, sometimes you don’t hear the tap on the shoulder. It requires the two by four or the sledgehammer and to tell you, Hey, you got to make this change and so you gotta do this so I’m like, oh, So it you know it was. It truly, truly was and is a great message to make out of the mess. Yes, so and I mean even, even the eight years. I served in the military just shy of eight years, and every single place I went, it was drama after drama after drama just, I mean every from the, you know, the recruiters saying you can’t do this to the flight instructor who tried to fail me to, you know, the first duty assignment for drum was the stalker. And then after that. And while I was in Germany. We got deployed to Kosovo, and I was injured. So, you know, it was like eight years of soap opera and people would call me and be like, I want to hear what’s going on with you, Elizabeth, because you make my life look normal. Like, Oh, thanks a lot. But what would I be talking about now. Right, if I hadn’t gone all through through all that. And then so you know we truly, truly, it is on. We don’t always see that message in the mess. It’s not until we can get on the other side and and I’m a firm believer that speaking can’t be therapy. So you kind of got to work out your stuff before we’ve seen that happen, it’s not really known well.

Cindra: I’m thinking about your FLY acronym as I’m listening. Elizabeth and your flat acronym is First Lead Yourself and tell us a little bit about that acronym, because I think in this moment right where you get laid off, you have to choose speaking or you decide to to speak. You don’t have to but you decide right like you had to lead yourself through that and even as people are listening, no matter what they’re struggling with, you know, can you can you move this message and find the message in the message. So you have to lead yourself first. So tell us about what that means.

Elizabeth: So that’s really evolved over time. Um, you know, leading you’re leading yourself is hard. You know, it’s actually easier to lead. Other people, but what we realize it is, is what we may not realize is that we’re sabotaging when we don’t lead ourselves well because people they don’t follow. They don’t follow always what we say, but they certainly follow what we do.

And especially parents leaders. I mean, no matter entrepreneurs business owners. I mean, there’s not anyone who wants to buy from a, from a lack of confidence entrepreneur business owner. I mean, no matter what position you are in how you show up in this world. So we talked earlier about showing up. But how you’re showing up in this world that’s that’s the fly is you

controlling how you show up. How your confidence, your communication your interactions. I mean, and now we got, we’ve added in, you had in the whole social and the perceptions that exists around social media and everything else. Everything you do it matters. So you know that’s that’s what flies all about is just being more intentional about how you want to show up in the world. And I, nobody else controls that but you.

Cindra: Right. I think that takes a lot of awareness of yourself. You know, like stepping back and thinking about how do I want to show up, like what’s important to me and I think about, I agree that leading yourself is the most difficult, but it takes a lot of like mental strengthen regulating yourself so that you can like lead in accordance with like your values, that’s what. Also, I’m thinking about, like, how do I want to show up in the world? What’s most important to me?

Elizabeth: Mm hmm. It does into it requires some self-reflection.Yes, it requires on and I think you know, for me, I’m connected to Spirit and God and so for me, what I what I see us doing is we filled our lives with so much business so much activity and business that we don’t allow any quiet. Noise for that spirit or God or whatever it is you believe in to talk to you and you know I call it the tap the tap on the shoulder because it could be a two by fours on time but I call it the tap. So like when you get that tap on the shoulder that says you’re supposed to be doing this. If we have the TV on and YouTube and every, you know, the radio in the car and it’s so much noise. It doesn’t get through.

Cindra: So that was a little tap when you got all these messages that you should be?

Elizabeth: Well known as a two by four. By four. You’re gonna lose your job. You don’t get you don’t, you must do something so ya know, sometimes, sometimes you know i and what I’ve learned over the years is now is when I listen to that voice. It comes more like, the more I honor it by listening, the more it comes in and like my, my grandparents had has passed, and I was very, very close to my great grandfather, when I was very young, like six years old and you know, I can feel them. You know I can. I can feel them watching over me and and talking to me and through spirit through, you know, whatever. What again, whatever it is you believe I can, I can feel them and I know, I know that there, if not necessarily watching over me there in my corner right they want me to be successful and have that. And so you know that that kind of there’s a peacefulness in that right.

Cindra: Yeah, absolutely.

Cindra: That’s beautiful. I wanted to ask you also about your pilot acronym is something that you speak on your book. Also, but about oh, there we go, there we go. The pilot vest.

Elizabeth: I don’t wear the helmet. Otherwise, it really messes up the hair.

Cindra: Five elemental truths that you call them and how they’re connected to leaders leadership and kind of this idea of fly like first lead yourself?

Elizabeth: Yeah, so you know I struggled with this because I wanted to write this book and I had the I knew I wanted pilot to be an acronym. And it was, it’s actually was a really cool process that I had to come up with it. I’m big I’m a big visual person. That’s why I’ve got like up here. I got sky’s the limit. Just fly. I’m not bossy on motivational like that. And so when I was working on the book I had these white sticky papers with a poster papers up in my hallway that I walked by every day multiple times a day, and I, I wrote it out and then every time I wrote by and thought of a different word that starts with the P or an eye or, you know, each letter, I kind of worked through that way until one that really spoke to me and resonated with me. So the P is about potential because if you don’t believe in your potential no one else will. It is truly that simple that again. No one wants to follow somebody that’s wishy washy you’re uncertain, or anything else. So I firmly believe that is foundational to everything we do. It comes from within and how we show up and I have some a free little free gift for your listeners and certain strategies. I’ll share with share too, so that’ll help with that because I that’s tactical like it’s not just I’m not just saying it conceptually to believe in yourself. I’m going to give you three strategies to help you. That you can do right away right away. Soon as you watch the video. So, um, because, because I’ve learned, like, Okay, this isn’t normal. And I’ve been through it. When I was in flight school and I had to combat negativity every single day and show up. And so, so I you know I’ve been there. Yeah, and I had to find the strategy. So I’ve got the strategies for that to help too. But that’s potential believing it and then I is implementation. Because it doesn’t do any good to believe in your potential. If you don’t do something with it. So implementation and and accomplishing something and making progress on you know on yourself on a project, whatever is you’re working on is that is essential. And then L is leadership, which is kind of like I really debated on that because the book is about leaving yourself and I’m making leadership, one of the one of the five things. But what I did is I broke leadership into a simple three steps. And it’s communicate a VA navigate. So it’s kind of a little can acronym inside. Inside a pilot. Because we all leadership is about how we communicate leadership’s about how the ABA and that’s taking action. So it goes back to implementation and navigating and that’s about creating a vision and casting that vision that people want to follow. And so it’s real simple framework with underneath leadership and that I teach is a whole day workshop. Now all by itself like I can do all day. I could write a whole book just on can now and then. Oh, is it I don’t, I don’t know, I’m kind of I got I don’t know I’ve got so many ideas.

Cindra: Love it.

Elizabeth: Maybe, and I got a couple ideas in the cook and things cooking in there. Oh, is optimal performance. And so that became that became a lot of self-reflection, like how like it’s a pilot. We couldn’t like nobody wants to fly with an average pilot.

Cindra: No.

Elizabeth: I think, you know, who here wants to fly with an average pilot. You want the one who got an AM class or you want the one that got it. You know, I mean, it’s like pretty no brainer, right. So, you know, but how I really started to do an analysis for on pilots and our activity and

like what we did and hat. Why are we hired Cheever’s, why do we do what we do. And some of it comes to the responsibility of carrying people in the back, right, even as a helicopter I carry I flew generals and VIP is in the secretary defense. So,you know, there’s an expectation of excellence there. And so how do you set that expectation. How can you like physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually show up as your best self on a consistent basis so instead of peak performance, which I hear a lot because you got the peak, you get the valleys and the average of that ends up being an average performance. What we worked and strive for that I wrote about in the book was about maintaining and sustaining in a sustainable optimal performance. So your averages. The curves are smaller and your averages, a little higher. So that’s what I’m overwhelmed about and then tenacity is like it’s simple, but not easy. It’s to tenacity not giving up. How do you show up when it’s hard. How do you, you know, push on when everything feels like it’s against you, you know, and I think at some point not then probably the next book. But at some point, I really want to talk and talk and dive into deeper and do some research on how like when to quit, but yeah, you know, because I think, I think that’s a really like a big struggle. I mean, that’s a big struggle is when should you say, and when should you quit. And I think in the whole like I’ll probably make it about critical thinking and decision making and everything like that because I might like all that just as kind of swimming and that’s how I that’s how I work. So it’s all kind of this idea is all of us up here. I’m thinking like how, like, Ooh, there’s something there. Right. Yeah, people struggle with.

Cindra: I think people struggle with it. And I think about, you know, tenacity. It also means to me, grit and it’s like, sometimes we can be too gritty and we can kind of push too hard I think to me about our detriment.

Elizabeth: Right, and it can hurt us. Cindra: Yeah.

Elizabeth: It can hurt us like there have been times I’ve pushed on something so bad that it reflected negatively on me. And it wasn’t the right thing to do and and looking back with some emotional intelligence, I go and probably should not have done that.

Cindra: Yeah, or we push too hard towards the goal, you know, and then we, you know, for me, it might be the not taking care of my kids and my husband and my family because I’m so focused on this one thing and it’s like okay, in hindsight. Yep. I should have kind of backed off from that, you know.

Elizabeth: Like balance and harmony and how do you, how do you find all that but also the decision making around that. So I find that really fascinating. So I’ll probably, you’ll see that from me, within the next few years. And I’m like, it’s been percolating in here for a while, so don’t take my idea.

Cindra: Yeah, there we go. So here is the pilot method and you can obviously get Elizabeth’s book that’s actually called the pilot method right there and I used Amazon, the other day, so it’s there. Give us other ways to get it right?

Elizabeth: It is on Amazon. However, if you buy it from pilotmethod.com, I will autograph I and send it to you personally. So, as I always recommend that.

Cindra: Yeah.

Elizabeth: That instantly goes through the publisher and if it’s fine, it’s fine to somebody else, like know say, oh, it’s fine. Yeah. As I signed it to that person.

Cindra: So people are keeping track P for potential I for implementation L for leadership. Oh, for optimal performance and T for tenacity. And Elizabeth I wanted to ask you one question about optimal performance, right. This is the podcast about really performance and mindset. So when you think about being a pilot and what you just said about you had to be your best self-made even as a speaker, you have to be your best self every day. Right. So you give the best to your audiences. But how did you train yourself to do that. It may be what might seem like really a pressure packed environment where you got, you know, all these big important people. In your helicopter, but you had to really be on. So how did you train your mindset to be able to be able to really perform on demand?

Elizabeth: So, you know, so getting. I’m going to go back to fly first lead yourself how you show up. Obviously I’m military so we love our acronyms. But, uh, so how you show up is is important. I figured out I created I got three strategies to boost your confidence to help you and how you and how you show up in those situations. I’m going to give those as a gift to everyone. However, for the other piece with that is, is also taking care of yourself when you’re not on. And I think that’s the piece where we get really out of balance. And so what I what most people don’t know is unless we’re in combat situations and then all bets are off. But in a training mode I as a pilot, I would have I can work for 12 hours and then I had to take 12 hours off. Like it was like forced that we were going to take that time off and recover. And recuperate and you know whatever we did in those 12 hours like we were expected to do a lot of times when we were in the high operational tempo. We would have to do our physical fitness on our own instead of with as a unit with the group. So we have to take care of take care of our physical self our emotional self our family, our spiritual all that and but it was it was it was required because when we show up to work. We can’t be thinking about what’s going on at home. Especially when lights are on the line and I still look at like even speaking right even a video even a podcast, like this, like I’m fully present. I’m here for you. I’m here for you watching or you listening and and there’s a responsibility with that. There is air is. And so when you look at that and say, Okay, we have a responsibility to show up at our best and kind of changes things creates a sense of urgency and importance and and how you, how you show up, you know, again, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, how you show up, it impacts everything else you do.

Cindra: I think what you just said is powerful, like we have a responsibility to show up at our best, you know, and I think an attribute of that is being fully present and that’s hard because there are a lot of things that are really distracting a phone that’s probably in your pocket right now. Like it’s the most distracted time we’ve ever been in, and so it’s like, but this this commitment and responsibility that you have to show up as your best self.

Elizabeth: Yeah, you know, there’s a whole training I do around focus because as a pilot. It’s like, you know, we are we’re focused on what we’re doing. But what we’re doing is encompassing everything right, so it’s a little bit. A little bit of a different thought process around focus, but I think the fact is our brain doesn’t multitask well It does unless it’s muscle memory, right. And so that’s one of the things I when I talk about your flying we there’s a reason flight school was 42 weeks. 42 weeks to learn how to fly because when you start flying real missions without an instructor pilot. You can’t think about how you fly it has that has to be muscle memory.

Cindra: Right.

Elizabeth: And your training memory and because then you’ve got layer in a mission of general, you know, some you know whether other things that happen. You have to be able to respond to those without thinking about how am I gonna fly? There’s a reason that commercial pilots have to have like 15 I think it’s 1500 hours now. So I’m not a commercial pilot anymore, so I can’t, I can’t don’t quote me but there’s a reason why it’s like 1250 or 1500 hours before they even get a license to be commercial now like it used to be 500, so they’ve increased those requirements and everything because and there’s a reason for that because, again, there’s more safety in that and there’s more security in that and there’s better insurance for commercially so you know there’s things like that that are so important to have focus on and what we do is we we were paying attention to our phone instead of our children.

Cindra: I know.

Elizabeth: And I came to tell you. And I asked this question when I teach this that this focus piece. Like, how many times have you been doing something when your children are speaking to you and then you don’t remember what they said.

Cindra: Right, or you’re not fully present. So you’re not, you know, you might have said yes to some things that you don’t really want to do.

Elizabeth: So a good example is you’re cooking something on the stove. Right. So if you’re cooking something on the stove and it has to be stirred and you’re stirring it during as muscle memory. When you’re stirring it because it’s muscle memory. You can now focus and have a conversation with your children. Now remember it, and retain it. But when you move to measuring and you’re having to read a recipe or calculate a measurement or, you know, measure something that requires that you’re in. Divide your focus and then you’re not going to retain what’s going on. So once you start getting aware of when, when can you multitask versus

not multitask. So another great question for everyone listening is how many times have you driven home from somewhere and you get home and you realize you have no idea how you got home. Right, because you having a conversation you’re on the phone. Hopefully on on headsets are, you know, Bluetooth, but it because something else is going on. It’s distracting your attention and the fact is, that’s not good either.

Cindra: It’s not.

Elizabeth: It’s not most accidents happen two miles from your house. Yeah, so that’s not the time to go on autopilot because you know where you’re going. So, you know, things like that is when we shift our awareness and we when we recognize when focus works. And when it doesn’t work. We can we can increase our performance, right, or high-performance we can increase our performance because then we’re utilizing it it’s a it’s a tool. It’s a resource. Elizabeth: Of knowing when or when we apply focus versus when we can divide.

Cindra: Yeah, I think that’s really helpful and just this idea that you can train your focus, but especially this present moment piece, I think, is powerful, Elizabeth. So I always ask my guests to tell us about what failure is to them. Like, how would you define failure is an example of it and it’s pretty awesome because I have a wide variety of examples, and I can share with you what failure is which kind of shows us that there’s not just one definition, but how do you define it?

Elizabeth: So I look at failure as opportunity.It’s an opportunity to learn. It’s an opportunity to get better. It’s an opportunity to improve. It’s an opportunity you know, to try something different. So to me it’s not even a failure, right, then its failure is when I do the same thing over and over again and becomes insanity like Einstein said right so to me that’s failure. It’s when I don’t learn. But yeah opportunity is definitely and I like, I like to learn. I doesn’t mean I like to fail. But I like to learn and what I’ve learned is and I talked about this in my speech is we can be in our comfort zone. Or we can be in our potential zone, but you can’t be in both at the same time. Because your comfort zone. You get what you already got because you’re going where you’ve already been and the potential zone is when you’re trying new things and trying new things has a risk. It has a risk of things not going. It’s a failure. It’s not going the way you thought it should go. Sometimes it’s better like I’ve had projects where I thought it’s going to go here and it went here and that’s even better. Yay, you know. So is that a failure went somewhere different. But it’s still good.

Cindra: Right. And you’re seeing the opportunity in it.

Elizabeth: Mm hmm. Yeah. And because I’m seeing the opportunity in it. The cool thing is, when I look at it that way. I see the opportunity in it. What happens is I see more opportunities from it.

Cindra: I think so many times that people like let fear of failure. Get in the way of choosing the potentials, on which I like what you just said you know that it’s like, well, I shouldn’t really put myself out there because I might fail, right. But when we define it more as like it’s just an opportunity to learn and grow and pivot and figure out new ways of doing your project or whatever you might be doing it gives us freedom to like choose the potential zone?

Elizabeth: It’s not a half the fun stuff doesn’t happen in your comfort walls, I guess some fun stuff could happen your comfort zone if you’re already doing fun stuff. But the real true like especially in business and growth and leadership. I mean, all these areas it the real exponential growth happens when you try new things. And there’s always a risk. But the thing is there’s a risk staying in your comfort zone to.

Cindra: Hmm, and that means you don’t reach your full potential. What do you think the risk is when you stay in your comfort zone?

Elizabeth: Well, it’s the risk of missed opportunity, right. Missed potential of things. It’s more better things are more success or whatever that is, you know, more financial success more, you know what, whatever that is, you potentially lose that too. And I think it’s interesting what you said center about fear. I think more people are afraid of the fear of success. Because it’s a fear of unknown. Than they are afraid of failing. Yeah. They don’t know what this what success. And what of what they don’t know what success is going to look like they haven’t visualized it they don’t know, they can’t see it, and because they can’t see it. They say they stay back and comfort.

Cindra: And they’re unsure. Maybe if they can handle it or if it is really what they want, because they really haven’t thought about it.

Elizabeth: Mm hmm. Yeah, that’s what I, that’s what I think it’s interesting, I think, I think that’s a bigger fear or, you know, the fear of looking silly to your friends are, you know, I think there’s a bigger fear around that then actually the fear of failing itself. Because most people are pretty forgiving like you make a mistake and my bad. You know, most people are pretty forgiving of trying something new and not succeeding. But fear. Fear of the unknown fear of what a huge level of success that they’re not familiar with will look like.

Cindra: Really good. Awesome.

Cindra: I didn’t expect us to go to this place of philosophy, so like my brain is like, awesome. Elizabeth, you have shared so much stuff with us. Tell us a little bit about how we can find more about your speaking about your 19 books, the free gift that I know that you want to share with us?

Elizabeth: Let’s just focus on the free gift. And when you’re there you’re there in the free gift.

And you’ll see off to the side. There’s options. So if you want to get some books I have entrepreneurial books I’m business books I have pilot method of course go to pilots calm or you there’s a there’ll be a link there too. But the gift is I have a $99 motivational course called sore your life. It’s actually in the course is Master, Master Your motivation. But the domain to get to it is soar your life so soar.

Cindra: Okay.

Elizabeth: I let soar. So we are soaryourlife.com and with that link that overrides the $99 price to free. So yes, free. We love free. So, you know, I, it’s just a way I can help right now so includes the what I normally give out for free is the three competence boosters. So I normally get about that. But right now with COVID and everything happening. And I’m seeing that people are struggling with their motivation their internal inspiration. I get all that and they’re struggling right now and I want to help. So, so here’s the deal: soaryourlife.com For you soaryourlife.com you can sit share that, in fact, please share that. So I’m pilot speaker on everything social. So share it tagged me send it out there. Give it to your friends and family, coworkers, use the threes boosters as a strategy to helping increase productivity and your team, you know, whatever it is that you need it’s there. It’s a gift. Yeah, I want us. I want us to be more motivated

Cindra: So, soaryourlife.com and you can reach out to Elizabeth anywhere on social @pilotspeaker. We’d love to hear what was important to you from Elizabeth’s message today and the podcast and I always like to wrap up with a good summary. Okay, so I know a lot of different things. I’m like, oh where do I start but I appreciated just when you’re talking about the military and how it was so hard. But you didn’t give up. And that was really like an intentional decision that you refuse to quit. You didn’t allow other people to dictate what you’re going to do with your life and your opportunities even though you know women shouldn’t be there. And the other messages that you got so just like embracing the hard the hard things that’s what I took from there and

Elizabeth: She’s got pages y’all just saying.

Cindra: I know I just started to do okay so pilot stands for potential implementation leadership optimal performance and tenacity and how those really helped shape us to be to fly ourselves for straight to lead ourselves first or fly. And then at the end, when we are talking about like you have the responsibility to show up as your best self so embracing that and really like thinking about how you want to show up in the world being intentional with that. And then this last conversation about failures opportunity and kind of moving towards your potential zone, instead of your comfort zone is the way to keep growing and learning and being your best so way to crush it today. I’m grateful that you have been on the show with us today and thank you so much for being on.

Elizabeth: Well, and I hope you all have a High-Performance Mindset with us here.

Cindra: Love it.

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