Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Leadership, Tough Decisions and Our Inner Voice

While discussing “The Law of Cause-and-Effect” in my last post, I commented that we should listen to our “Inner Voice.” Since then I’ve been asked a number of questions about this “Inner Voice” and whether or not it really exists. Let me share a few thoughts and an experience with you.

Although there’s quite a bit of scientific debate on this subject, all I can say is that this voice exists for me. Let me tell you why. One day during the midst of several days of continuous around the clock air operations aboard the USS Midway, I was assigned a mission scheduled for a midnight launch and a 2 AM recovery.

As was my custom, I obtained a weather forecast of expected conditions during the launch, along the mission route and in the recovery area. This forecast was for marginal conditions (with rain showers and low visibility) during launch and recovery.

Two hours prior to launch the pilot and I briefed the planned mission. This particular pilot and I had flown together only once previously and had not yet developed the coordination necessary (in the cockpit between crew members) to land a high performance, twin-engine, two-seat tactical jet aircraft aboard a moving target in marginal weather where the deck moves vertically from 0 to 16’.

After the brief I went to the maintenance shack to review any open maintenance gripes on the assigned aircraft. This particular aircraft had some open air conditioning and radio issues that could not be duplicated with the aircraft on the ground. These gripes meant that there was an increased possibility we could lose radio communications at any time during the flight.

Now let’s take a closer look at this picture. I was about to fly in a marginal aircraft, in marginal weather with a person whom I had not developed any “carrier” confidence. On the other hand, up to that point, or any time since then had I ever turned down or refused a flight or mission for any reason. But now, for the 1st time in my life, I heard a voice telling me to “down” this aircraft.

My sense of pride told me to complete the mission but this inner voice kept telling me not to go. I finally listened to my inner voice and downed the aircraft for mechanical reasons. However, that's not the end of the story. During the 2 AM recovery in the midst of the forecasted marginal weather, one of the landing aircraft had a ramp strike. In this case the aircraft struck the back end of the carrier (the round-down) and burst into flames. Luckily the crew (whose ready room we shared) was rescued.

This was the first time I ever recognized my inner voice. I've learned that its function is to guide us safely towards our goals and ultimate life’s purpose. "It" truly knows what's best for us. However because of free will, we choose whether or not to listen to or obey it. This voice can only be heard in the present moment and can’t be heard while our mind is focused in the past or future. It must also be discerned from other voices competing for our attention and can be easily drowned out by all the “stuff” going on in our life.

In summary, let me unequivocally say that this voice exists and is available to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Thank you and God bless.

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

Thank you for sharing!!