If You Don’t Know, Don’t Say

I was returning from a flight to Florida’s West Coast. I was five miles out of Orlando Executive (my home airport), and winds were only 5 to 7 knots. But they were coming at an angle that was going to make landing difficult for the runway air traffic control had assigned.

I felt confident I could do it. But, whenever possible, I ask for the runway that makes landing my plane as safe and easy as possible.

I called the controller and made the request, but it was denied. So I went ahead and landed on the other runway.

Before I did, though, I called the controller again and asked for a “time check.” That told him I was not happy and would be speaking with a supervisor. Among other things, the “time check” provides the supervisor with a way to review on-air exchanges between a particular controller and pilot. (Those exchanges are recorded, and I know to be careful to say only what can be used for me and not against me.)

My gut feeling was that the controller didn’t want to do the work involved in switching runways for me. It was late afternoon, right around time for a shift change. But since I couldn’t be sure of his reason for denying my request, I decided to hold off judgment until I had spoken with his supervisor. The supervisor called me the next morning. Long story short, I got an apology from the controller on duty for not having given me the okay. More important, I established a relationship with the supervisor — an articulate, intelligent, savvy guy. He recognized the unique qualities of my plane, and understood why I preferred to land with its nose into the wind. He also agreed with me that a pilot coming in to his home airport should get special consideration.

Had I let my emotions get in the way, I would not have achieved this larger goal.

I didn’t radio the control tower and yell, “You lazy sons of guns, get off your duffs and make it happen!” Alienating controllers, even if I am in the right, diminishes my stature as being reasonable and in control. (A must for pilots.)

By using my philosophy of “If you don’t know, don’t say,” I set myself up for success!It works the same in business and your personal life. Don’t fly off the handle and “push their buttons.” Wait for the appropriate time and opportunity to take control.

Escalating emotions are goal-killers. It pays in both the short and long run never to allow it to happen. You will only drain your energy and go off your goal track.

Here are a few techniques that will help you stay calm in any tense situation:

  • When the other person is upset with you, ask questions. Ask, “Can you tell me why you are upset?” or “What can I do to fix this?” This sets up a bridge to resolution.
  • When something is bothering you, let your emotions speak. Don’t expect others to read your mind. Give your distress a voice instead of holding it in and allowing it to fester and intensify. Say, “I am very apprehensive about this” or “I am becoming annoyed and angry.”
  • Make resolving the problem a team effort. Instead of putting yourself and the other person on opposite sides, say, “We can work this out.”

These tactics become easier the more you use them.

We like to think of ourselves as mature adults, yet maturity goes out the window — along with self-control — when a person or problem “pushes our buttons.”

Hold on to your goal power by staying levelheaded and centered. Ask questions. Give voice to your emotions. And promote a “We are in this together” atmosphere. Your goals will not only stay on track … they will advance much faster.

P.S. Keeping my emotions in check and waiting for the right opportunity to take control of a situation is one of the success skills I learned while working with some of the richest and most successful men in the world. These men weren’t born wealthy. Yet, they learned the formula for achieving all they wanted out of life. I reveal dozens more of their unexpected, effective, and easy-to-implement success “secrets” in my program, The Billionaire in You.

  • Joe

    I’m a pilot. O.K., so you didn’t let your ego get TOO in the way, but still the whole story reeks of ego. Why would you even be so upset that it would make you even think of talking to the controller’s supervisor? 7 knots isn’t much of a crosswind, and I doubt the crosswind was even that much. I don’t like pilots like you who think they should get preference of runway just because it’s their “home” airport. Have you ever thought of all the free services pilots receive from the common taxpayer? All those runways, airports, controllers, etc.

  • Deborah

    Thanks for your informative and interesting newsletter. I have enjoyed reading it for about 5 years.

    Your new redesign appears experimental and seems to have been going on for some time now … once there was the blue (which seems foreign, took awhile to realize it was really your usual newsletter) and then yellow color variations. Frankly, I agree with all the above comments which Kathy expressed so well. I have received RFA although infrequently. Since it was advertised as Michael Masterson’s publication, I was confused by having his picture on top of ETR instead of one of the editors. Perhaps you are trying to re-brand Early to Rise … For some reason, this new look is more of a chore to quickly peruse and seems less friendly and crisp.

    My preference is to return to the original design with graphics and two columns.

    Thanks again for all you do!

  • Ed

    If you or your “unique” airplane can’t handle 6-7 knots of crosswind you’ve got no business being in the air.