Welcome to eClass 38:
Aviation Emotional Health…
Here we go…
PART 1: Aviation Emotional Health.
Our aviation medicals put most of the emphasis on our physical health and wellbeing.
Obviously this is very important to our passengers that they’re pilot doesn’t decide to ‘check out’ whilst in the air.
Hence the reason there will always be 2 crew in airlines. I would suggest that one day technology will be such that I could fly with one pilot but the people paying the bills (our customers) would never allow it.
The area that I would go as far to say that isn’t talked about much is Aviation Emotional Health.
A pilot may be physically fine but on the inside could be on the verge of a meltdown.
You may not know this but during your medical examination, the questions that you get asked are partly designed to pick up if you are mentally stable.
So an aviation medical examiner is expected to pick in one hour per year if everything is ok with you. Not really that thorough is it?
This is an area that I have a particular interest in as you may have guessed that I like to chat with people at lot!
During these chats I have discovered that sometimes people carry perceived burdens that seem unnecessary. It sometimes shows in their performance.
I also have worked on myself over the last 24 year that I have been flying. So please understand that this is my opinion on this topic based upon observation and experience.
I have covered in previous eClasses subjects such as handling pressure etc however there is a big elephant in the room if you aren’t prepared to work on you emotional health.
I believe that it is true to say that you can only change yourself and that you can only be the best that YOU can be.
The aviation industry is full of standards and performance to achieve. I am continually striving to reach an outcome.
This basically means that it is like a take-take-take industry. I don’t see this as a bad thing because we are all in it because we love flying.
It just has to be acknowledged and understood so that you can counteract the effects. In an ideal world, the ‘take’ should be matched with give.
On the surface I obviously get given the thrill of the ride – that’s why we love it.
This thrill alone I believe is not enough.
It is rare for passengers to get of a flight that you completed safely to a high standard and shower you with praise.
Realistically they have no idea how hard or challenging it was – they just trust you.
I make a point of giving out credit where credit is due with the pilots that I fly with.
Most are surprised when I do because normally it’s about where you could do better rather than where you did great.
So we all need to find the way to stay emotionally healthy.
The best suggestions to stay emotionally healthy…
- Be mindful of the enormity of your achievement every time that you complete a mission
- Work through personal pressures don’t sweep issues under the carpet
- Take some time to assess your own performance and the emotion connected to it
- If you feel that you performed well then pat yourself on the back and move on
- If you feel that you could have performed better then re program your experience tool kit and move on
Remember that there is no right or wrong and that the best you can be is when you clear your slate.
Why not take 5 minutes each day or after a flight to check in with yourself rather than wait until a internal issue shows it’s ugly head in your ability to perform.
You should keep an awareness of your emotional health.
PART 2: How to Stay at Peak Performance.
There are the obvious biggies when it comes to staying at peak performance. Peak performance is an individual thing so remember that you can only be the best that you can be.
At risk of sounding like your mother there are some obvious things that can assist in maintaining your best.
- Get a good night sleep
- Eat healthy and have the bad stuff in moderation
- Give yourself praise where due
- Accept praise when offered
- Critique yourself then move on
- Understand that performance is measured by outcome
- Be prepared to change when potential improvements are identified
- Have the difficult conversation that you may have been putting off
- Take 5 minutes to ponder each day
- Remember no one’s perfect
- Have fun
PART 3: How To Avoid Getting Complacent.
Every time you take the next step in aviation initially you will be out of your comfort zone.
The great thing about being out of your comfort zone is it keeps you on your toes.
It has been said that ideally a change at least every 5 years can help prevent you becoming complacent.
Some of the signs that you may be becoming complacent…
- Lack of motivation
- Slack standard
- Have a think about your own symptoms
When it comes to complacency I have found the best way to counteract is to be on the lookout for symptoms. Then you can take some steps to reduce the effects or snap yourself out of it.
Here are some things that you can use to get back to your peak…
- Think about the repercussions if you are found negligent
- Think about your passengers faith in you
- Look at your passengers and think about the number of people that would be affected if they weren’t there
- Think about how much work that you have put into your career
- Think about the easiest way out for your company if they could prove that you were complacent
Never assume that it can’t happen to you.
You should understand that no one can be at peak 100% of the time because no human is perfect.
Recognise and monitor your own performance and have some steps to take to REDUCE the effects.
Keeping safe benefits everyone so go and have some fun and perform at your best!
PART 4: Questions for You.
- Do you think that your emotional health can affect your performance?
- What are some of the ways to strive for peak performance?
- What are your symptoms of complacency?
- If you want any more discussion on this subject please raise it at the next webinar.
Next week’s preview…’How to Approach Flight Tests…’
Find out how doing anything that you can even before you start will be of immense value to your career.
Congratulations on completing this Eclass.
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To Your Flying Success!
Airline Pilot and Professional Pilot Mentor