F16 Jets

Fly With Waldo

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“You’ve got to Push it up to take off.  And you have to take-off to fly!”

I’ll never forget the first time I flew the F-16.  The rush of adrenaline was amazing. The tower controller cleared me for take-off and from the back seat my instructor pilot, Captain “Deke” Slaton, called out over the intercom, “Push it up, Waldo!”

“Yes, Sir!” I replied.

I nervously pushed up that throttle to full power and felt a kick in the seat unlike anything I’ve experienced in my life.  30,000 pounds of pure thrust. The power was unreal as I became airborne and in seconds accelerated to 350 knots.

I won’t forget how hard I worked to make it to the cockpit that day. But it paled in comparison to how hard I would work to stay there. I had to push myself beyond my limits to earn my wings and become mission ready in the F-16.

I’ve embraced the phrase “Push it up!” in my personal and professional life and use it as a call to action to my clients, fellow wingmen, and friends. I want you to use it as well because it symbolizes what it takes to win. It stands for maximum effort. It’s the thrust which drives you forward.  It’s what gives you wings to fly.

Push it up means you:

  • Put forth maximum effort
  • Discipline yourself to take (the correct) action every day
  • Commit yourself to your goal
  • Stay focused until the mission is complete
  • Face adversity with courage.

It’s about personal leadership, and you’re the pilot in command.

Push it up also means you’re a trusted partner in life – a wingman. Someone others can count on to get the job done. You have a disciplined, determined and passionate approach towards living every single day and you don’t need to wear a flight suit of fly an F-16 to develop it.  It originates in your heart, is inspired through your attitude, and is executed through your action.

Let me share something with you.  Success isn’t necessarily about motivation or even attitude. It’s about action. Action that leads to performance that leads to results. The world rewards results, not attitude… and while your attitude is a tremendous asset in your life and will likely inspire you to act, it’s not going to directly give you results.


Some say attitude determines altitude. I totally disagree.  Here’s a better formula:

Attitude + Action + Ability determines Altitude.


What drives you to get out of bed every day ready to push it up and take action? Are you willing to work for it?

Hard work is the impetus to action. It’s the sun to the blooming flower and the sweat to the athlete. There is no substitute when it comes to success.

Winners in business and life possess a positive attitude that is seasoned with discipline, passion, and commitment. But at the end of the day, they take action to make it happen.  Winners sharpen their sword and do the work to perfect their craft.  Most importantly, they resist the temptation to ease up–to pull back the throttle–despite the missiles of life that are constantly being launched.

Push it up isn’t easy. But it separates the mediocre from the “Mach-1.” Are you pushing it up or pulling it back in life? How hard are you willing to work? The difference will determine whether or not you take off and reach new heights.