”It’s the way he flies, ice cold, no mistakes.” – Top Gun
Any self-respecting pilot knows that quote. I must admit that sometimes, deep down, I wish somebody could talk about me like that. No mistakes. The sad truth is though, nobody is perfect.
When I sit down in the cockpit everyday, one of the first things that comes to my mind are the previous mistakes I made and how I can make sure they don’t happen again. The problem is though, sometimes I care so much about doing better that it gets in the way of my overall performance.
A few weeks ago, for example, I had the pleasure to fly with one of my favorite captains. On the last leg of the day, I decided to try to demonstrate a short field landing. What should have been a seamless process turned out into a bad landing because of a mistake on my part. Since then, often when I fly with my esteemed friend, I tend to overcompensate for that one mistake I made, because, well, I want to show him that I care and working on my mistakes.
Needless to say that overcompensating rarely works well when flying an airplane, and it can make the landings less-than-perfect in many ways.
Not long ago did I realize I was stuck in this whole paradigm, and it really got me thinking. Caring is good. Trying to fix your mistakes is really good. Aiming for excellence, nobody can say wrong about it.
But don’t let the caring get in the way, or, well, you might get carried away! (sorry for the pun..) Just make sure that in everything you do, your first goal is safety and professionalism. By trying too hard to accomplish something, it’s too easy to lose the big picture and make easily avoidable mistakes.
So, to answer the question… My biggest flaw? I think I care too much. I want to perform so much that it sometimes gets in the way. But that same problem is a major asset, as it constantly pushes me to evolve and aim towards excellence.
Question for you: What would you answer to this question in an interview setting, and how would you turn it into a positive thing?