There were four phases needed to complete training to become a military pilot. The first was basic officer training. This involved three months of intensive mental and physical training where discipline, leadership, enduring hardship, and soldiering were taught. I excelled in this phase of the training and became one of the leaders in the platoon. The second phase was land and sea survival where post-crash survival and high altitude endurance were tested. Again, I passed with flying colors. Difficulty arose during the third phase called primary flying training. Much study was required in order to learn the basics of flight, air regulations, and meteorology. However, I pressed on and made it through phase three in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.
Finally, phase four had arrived. It was "big time at the Big 2." Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan is a town in the middle of the Canadian prairies with sub-zero winter temperatures and dry hot summers. It might be considered a less than desirable place for many people, but to Canadian pilots, it was heaven. Ground school required more intensive study. We had to learn more meteorology, flight rules, emergency procedures, navigation, aerodynamics, and on it went. All day, we would hear the beautiful sound of jets taking off and landing.
Finally the day came when I would strap into the beautiful CT114 Tutor to take my first ride. You may have seen the Canadian snowbirds aerobatics team; the Tutor is the same aircraft used to train Canadian pilots. It is a two-seat single engine jet with an average speed of about 320 knots (400 mph) and capable of handling a G-force of seven. We took off and reached the flying area. The instructor said I could "have control." I took control indeed. I rolled the aircraft several times and did a few steep turns and climbs. This jet was a remarkable flying machine. However, my desire to pull G’s far exceeded my ability to withstand them. My confident voice turned to a whimpering plea to return to base as I swallowed hard to keep the contents of my stomach where they belonged.
Note-A "G" represents the force of gravity. As you stand on earth, you are experiencing one G force. When you go on rides at the fair and are being whipped around on a roller coaster, you might experience a two-G turn positively or a zero G negative drop (weightless). Three Gs is when you have to start focusing on breathing management.
Months passed an one day, after being with my instructor and practising, take offs, landings, aerobatics and emergency procedures, we rolled up to the hanger. He flipped up his visor and looked over at me with serious eyes. His only words were, "It’s time." I knew exactly what he meant. It was time to solo. I was thrilled! I was ecstatic! I was scared!
We walked back into the hanger and I signed out the aircraft in my name. I was responsible. This was my aircraft. I walked out onto the tarmac and there I was - black flight suit, parachute, helmet and sunglasses, walking toward my million-dollar aircraft. I felt kind of like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
After starting up, taxiing out, and doing pre-flight checks, I asked for take-off permission. "Bandit 711, you are cleared for takeoff." A final check on engine temperature and pressure, and I was rolling down the runway. I could feel the pressure of the acceleration as I sank in my seat-50, 60, 70 knots-rotate; I was off and flying. Gear up, flaps up, temperature and pressure looking good...In that moment, a warm excitement filled my mind and body. My heart sang with joy. Soloing was oh so much sweeter than being with an instructor. I was experiencing the exhilaration of high flight and I now knew how John Magee felt.
Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings:
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of-wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sun-lit silence.
Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delicious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew;
And while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God
—John Magee, High Flight.
(Magee was an American pilot in the RCAF during World War II who was shot down the day after he wrote this poem.)
After several take offs and landings, I landed my aircraft and taxied to the hanger. With unabashed exuberance I could hardly contain myself. I had a grin that made my face disappear. Off I went to the officer’s club to celebrate. It had taken me close to two years to get to this point. I was on the home stretch.
The final phase of training was called instrument flight rule (IFR) flying. In IFR a visor is put on your helmet that allows you to see only the instrument panel. You fly by listening to tower instructions and watching the instruments that reveal where you are in the skies.
This is done to simulate flying in clouds or low visibility weather. In flight after flight, the instructor would point out all the mistakes I was making, and soon doubts started to creep in. Before each flight I would feel sick. I would visualize messing up. In my mind’s eye I would see the instructor yelling at me and criticizing me for my mistakes. As a result, I started flying defensively, worrying more about making mistakes than concentrating on the task at hand. My focus was not on the joy of flying, but on the fear of failing. I also believed the instructors were too hard and that they were ganging up on me. I was switched to another instructor, and then another. My self-esteem plummeted. I remember I use to argue and make excuses during debriefing. I was fighting to be acknowledged for what I did well. Over the next three months, I fell further and further behind, so far in fact that I had to take the "do or die" test. I had to fly with the Chief Flying Instructor. My instructor told me not to be afraid. He might as well have told me to stop breathing.
The test flight had gone well and the last procedure was a precision approach tower controlled instrument landing. All I had to do was ace this last part and I would be back on track. "You’re high, reduce your altitude," were the words from the tower. I was in a daze. I was tense. I was nervous. I just wanted to get the aircraft on the ground. I followed the tower’s instructions and corrected my flight attitude, but I forgot to trim the aircraft and so I ballooned back up. "You’re high, you’re high," tower kept saying. Once again I corrected. Tower informed me one more time and then it happened...
Well, if you would like to know the rest of this exciting story you will have to invest in the book. I have personally heard back from many people who have read the book and they've said it was a great read and that it truly helped them in their personal, professional or family lives.
Fired Up for Life cuts to the heart of this issue and offers strategies that are very practical and easy to apply. Greg Gerrie's transparency about his ups and downs, successes and failures are a tremendous encouragement and source of inspiration. Reading Fired Up for Life is a must for anyone committed to personal and spiritual growth."
Anne Thornley-Brown, Professional Actress ( DOC, Mary Higgins Clarke Mysteries, Degrassi Juniour High)
The book is an easy read. It provided me with motivation and a blueprint of how to properly set goals. It's an easy read and it works!
Greg Riggs-Senior Trade Coordinator-Trade Exchange Canada.
The points in your book that made the most impact on me are:
- Being responsible for managing my thoughts - thinking positively
- Avoid negativity
- Our values are the foundation of our goals
- Happiness is closely tied to helping/serving others
- If others can do it so can I
- Life is a process & each day is an opportunity to start fresh
- Worry, fear & anxiety are the root of our failures & we have to overcome our way of thinking to go forward
"INFLUENCE" SPEAKER CURRICULUM
Students are taught the basics of delivering an impactful speech. They then design their own speech and deliver it at the end of the program. They are taught to design and deliver a speech that will be life changing for the audience..
SOLVING LOCAL & GLOBAL ISSUES
Begin with the end in mind
Identifying core local and societal issues
What can you believe
Where have you been tricked, duped or over marketed to
Understanding the politics of business
How do you want your words to impact
What do you want your audience to do
Gathering the real facts
Understanding the audience
Forming the Right Words
Everyone can be a speech coach because the know what the like
Key ares of a speech and how to be a positive criticizer
Speaking it out to see if it hits the mark
Back to formation
Test Test Test
BODY LANGUAGE & VOICE
Using body, arms and eyes to powerfully communicate
Various voice tones, inflections, pauses etc
POWERPOINT & PROPS
What goes best with your talk.
Proper powerpoint usage
INVOLVING YOUR AUDIENCE
How to engage your audience.
How to handle disruptions
Proper Microphone use
Special effects with mechs
HEART & SOUL
Overcoming F.E.A.R. How to really "give it up" as a speaker
How to care more about them than you do your performance
KidTalks is a combined Leadership & Speaking program.
These are most of the concepts taught
Free Chapter from Fired Up For Life
The Boy With the Dream
I remember grade eight very well. I lived on a military base and went to a small middle school in New Brunswick, Canada. Life was pretty wonderful. I had two loving parents, two sisters to battle with, and a nice school to go to. I played all-star hockey for the local town of Chatham and was learning the game of golf in the summers. In my grade eight year, I played for the school volleyball, basketball and hockey teams. I was also president of the student counsel and loved all the benefits and privileges associated with that. Academically I received the top mark in English, and was elected valedictorian of my graduating class. Life was clicking along pretty darn good.
Then my dad was posted to the nation’s capital and I had a dramatic shift in lifestyle. How exciting it was to attend a high school of almost two thousand and then to have made the senior high school hockey team while only in grade nine. Wow! There was a cornucopia of opportunity in Ottawa. I made the honor role in grade nine but in grades ten to twelve I had other important areas to focus on. I wanted to play on as many sports teams as I could, go out with girls, party as much as possible, and above all, be cool. I top notch hockey for both the high school and triple AAA all-star teams right up to midget (grade 12). Our high school team even took a trip to Sweden to play. What an awesome adventure! I also played for the school golf team. In short, I was having the time of my life. My sporting exploits provided opportunities to look good, to be cool and to be popular. I was captain of my triple A midget team and made the first line on the hockey team.
You will notice that there was little mention of my academic exploits. My parents began to express concern about my drop in marks but being the smooth talking character that I was, I would always assure them that I was leading a "balanced" lifestyle. You see, one of my greatest strengths had always been communication. My parents had exposed me to the adult world very early in life and I developed a propensity for communicating well with adults, including my parents. This attribute also became my downfall because I believed that with communication, I could talk my way in and out of anything. I could find the easy way out; where there was a shortcut, I would find it. Talk was cheap! I could fool everyone but little did I know II was only fooling myself.
In my final year of high school my dad was posted again and we moved to a smaller town in Ontario called Trenton. There, I experienced one of the most miserable years of my life. The smaller school was very clickish and I stayed clear of the school except to attend classes. I didn’t even go to my own graduation ceremony. I made the Jr. B hockey team in Belleville and spent a great deal of time on a bus or on the ice. By Christmas I was failing Calculus and Algebra and was running an average below sixty percent. If I was going to go to university, something had to be done.
After Christmas I decided to quit junior hockey to focus more on school. I also met with the school counselor regarding what I should take in university. After an intensive investigation (four minutes) of my personality and attributes he said that engineering would be best for me. So-engineering it was. I buckled down and my average climbed sufficiently to be accepted into Carleton University in Ottawa.
University was yet another cornucopia of sport and party opportunities. While I did spend many hours working hard and studying, I also spent too many other hours being part of the statistic that had this university set pub records for the most beer consumed per capita of all Canadian universities. You see, I simply had not developed the most important aspect of living that one needs to survive and thrive in this society - discipline. I later learned that discipline was not something you could turn on and off. It had to be developed as part of one’s character. This takes time. It takes time to develop poor character traits and it takes time to develop good ones as well. After two years, I failed out of engineering.
My self-esteem was at its lowest point ever. The golden boy from grade eight who seemingly had a very bright future had fast-tracked himself to failure. I headed west in search of work and a new perspective on life. My goal was to land a position working as a laborer in construction. That was where the big money was. Regrettably, I arrived in Calgary to face a labor strike and was forced to look for work elsewhere. I ended up working as a bouncer in a bar. There, I learned to see a different side of life. Perhaps it was the life where I was destined to end up in if I didn’t shape up. I worked 7pm to 1am nightly and did everything from load beer, to fending off intoxicated women, to breaking up bar room brawls involving overzealous
cowboys who would not remove their hats. We would also experience the joy of visitations from motorcycle gangs but they usually kept to themselves. Each night, I would return to my apartment reeking from cigarettes and beer. Finally I landed a job in construction. I worked 7:00 am to 3:30 pm. After work I would collapse in exhaustion for an hour, get up, grab some dinner and head for my night job as a bouncer. I was bringing in the bucks but burning myself out.
I extended my four month break to a full year and event ually landed a position with an engineering firm. Here I succeeded wonderfully well and was sent to Ottawa, Vancouver and England as a technical representative. I thrived in the company because of my excellent communication skills and ability to work hard. I regained my confidence and returned to Ottawa to complete my engineering program. After three months, it was apparent that I simply was not cut out for the academic world of engineering. My spirits had never been lower. I went to a counselor and poured my heart out. To my surprise, she inspired me by saying, "This is wonderful! It’s the beginning of a whole new adventure for you. You have identified what you’re not good at. Now go find what you are good at." I will never forget her name, Dawn. Her viewpoint gave me a whole new reason to carry on.
Once again I ended up working for another high-tech engineering firm and once again I thrived. I made significant contributions to the production process through some engineering innovations. I wrote a computer program which automatically calculated some critical design specifications for electronic parts. The boss was impressed and so was I. But a new dream was looming on the horizon, a dream that had been lurking inside me for many years. I decided that I wanted to become a pilot.
Only one in one thousand applicants receive their wings through the Canadian Air Force training program. I submitted my application and was selected to go to Aircrew Selection in Toronto. Here, I completed a multitude of medical, psychological, intelligence, and co-ordination tests. I then returned to my hometown where each day I anxiously awaited the letter that would determine my future. Finally, the letter arrived, and with trembling hands I opened it. It read, "Congratulations, you have been accepted into the Canadian Air Force pilot training program. You are to commence officer training on October 15, 1983." The excitement was overwhelming. I had successfully completed the first leg of a wonderful dream.
FIRED UP FOR LIFE-HOW TO GET AND STAY MOTIVATED
Table of Contents.
Part I - MOTIVATION & SUCCESS
Chapter 1 Inspiration into Action – How Motivation Works
Chapter 2 Rock Solid Success – What Success Really Is
Chapter 3 Seek Wisdom First – Where and How to Get It
Chapter 4 Hope + Faith + Action = Success
Part II – THE POWER OF YOUR MIND
Chapter 5 Beliefs: Understand the Software of Your Mind
Chapter 6 Program Your Beliefs for Prosperity
Chapter 7 F.E.A.R. of Failure – Break Free Forever
Part III - PLAN TO WIN
Chapter 8 Dream the Possible Dream – Why You Need Goals
Chapter 9 Goals 101: Your Vision to Succeed – The Key Elements of Goal Setting
Chapter 10 Goals 102: Blueprint to Reality – Reach Your Goals
Part IV - COMMUNICATE WITH POWER
Chapter 11 The Language of Success – How To Speak With Power
Chapter 12 Superior Human Relationships
Part V – PERSONAL MANAGEMENT
Chapter 13 Vibrant, Healthy and Fired Up for Life! - How to Keep Your Health Its Best
Chapter 14 Have the Time of Your Life – Manage Your Self for Success
Chapter 15 How To Get Rich...the Right Way
Chapter 16 Power Up Your Environment – Surround Yourself With Winners
These principles are taught in an age appropriate manner. They are aspects of leadership that can be used in all of life.
Do better in school.
Have better friends.
Be confident in all you do.
Operate in the fullness of your
destiny, even at a young age.
TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
The “Me” Trap.
How real leaders receive training
How to be coachable.
How to shake hands and look people in the eye.
Sitting and standing well
YOUR DNA DESTINY – NATURALLY GIFTED
Open the door to understanding your core strengths and stress areas.
Are you an accident or were you created.
The answer is a game changer!
Naturally gifted – DNA-You gravitate toward your strengths
Move ahead with power knowing who you are.
NO F.E.A.R. – JUST FREEDOM – BREAK EVERY CHAIN
Do you have beliefs or do they have you.
How to live right here-right now in total freedom.
What is worry and how can you release it.
Letting go of the past.
2020 VISION-HOW TO GET R.E.A.L. - VISION THAT INSPIRES YOURSELF & THE WORLD
What on earth are you doing here?
What is the purpose of your existence?
FEAR-Are you running from that which you know is truly you.
Why people wont set goals.
Why you must set goals.
How to set goals.
Now set goals!!!
Key Areas à Get specific – Be terrific!
What are you best suited for?
Why do you want to go?
What are your best options and strategies
What would your own wealth do for you?
What is wealth really? Is it more than money?
What is its true purpose?
Where the world needs help.
Wealth creation basics. (reciprocity and more.)
Do you want to be an entrepreneur?
No, you are not too young!
The Global business community and how to access it
BREAK EVERY CHAIN (Spiritual, Emotional, Physical, Financial)
Stress and its cost.
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
How your brain works and how to maximize it.
Eat to die – Eat to win
RELATIONSHIPS-A CULTURE OF HONOUR
What do people most appreciate?
2 ears – one mouth. How to powerfully listen?
How to honor those around you.
Why are love and forgiveness the most powerful weapons in the universe?
How girls are different than boys.
HOW TO RAISE YOUR PARENTS
What is that balance of respect and autonomy?
Earning your rights quickly.
How to form the right thoughts in your mind to say the right things to attract your destiny.
How to forgive.
Love never fails.
POWERFUL SPEAKING TO INFLUENCE
How to think and speak with power
How to meet, greet and remember people.
HOW THE WORLD WANTS YOU & HOW TO FIGHT
Friend or world leader-Are friends more important than mission and vision
TV-Gaming-Internet – Do you want to be manipulated
Gather powerful influencers and influences to make life awesome.
Turn away from the negative.
HOW TO WIN & KEEP FRIENDS
Be a winning friend and influencer.
Overcome worry about looks, what you wear and what you say.
LEAD TO SUCCEED
You need to be a great follower to be a great leader.
How to lead yourself so that you can lead others.
How to access wisdom so that your life is a rocket. Access the highest power in the universe.
ACTION or DISTRACTION
Turn vision into action, a set of goals, a way to achieve that vision turning away from all distraction.
ATTITUDE FOR ALTITUDE – HIT THE STARS
Develop an unstoppable attitude toward truth, liberty, success and the power to make a difference.