Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.
– Norman Vincent Peale
In my post about hard decisions
, I discussed a personal struggle impacting my career as an air traffic control trainee.
The knowledge and skills developed were highly specialized personal assets and there were a limited number of employers for this occupation.
In fact, at the time there was only one: The United States Government. You either were in the military assigned to to this specialty or were a civilian employee of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
There were a few private entities with controllers such as Beech Factory, in Wichita, KS but these were rare.
A Niche Personal Asset Market
Even more specialized: the skills required at an en route center
, my assigned position. These were useful only to the FAA. There were some opportunities abroad with the International Civil Aviation Organization
, but as a female U.S. citizen my opportunity was the FAA, where I was then employed.
This was a reality the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO)
used to make their case for going on strike in 1981: Since this was the primary place the skills we were developing could be employed, the FAA owed us more compensation. Never mind, we were getting paid by the FAA (e.g. the U.S. taxpayer from whence our funding came) while we were developing these very assets. The knowledge and skills, that when completed, were the equivalent to a four-year college degree.
Yes it was tough and yes, One had to bring all one had to the table and allow that something within to be pulled out. Yet, I was getting paid for the privilege. I was grateful and honored and – scared.
Facing and Fighting Fear
I was scared that this opportunity was my one and only shot at a great career. If I lost my job, what would I do? My husband had just completed a masters degree and was making plans to continue on into a doctoral program. These were his dreams, even calling. This decision would affect both of our lives. Our dreams were being threatened with derailment or at best, delay.
Then there was the “fact” that the skills I spent so much time and energy developing were useless anywhere else.
Or were they?
Enter the book: What Color is Your Parachute?
by Richard Bolles
. I am not sure where or how I got the book. However, once I resolved to go against the flow of my colleagues, based on personal values, I begin preparing, in case I needed to look for another job. This book provided vital information and perspective.
Knowledge Is Powerful
This book made me aware of gifts, talents, skills, knowledge and abilities that were uniquely me. It also helped to look past the application of those assets only in air traffic control.
The information in this book enabled me to see what I had gained in this training as well as other life experience were connected. Even more, it was transferable. For instance, an air traffic controller:
- has the ability to quickly make life and death decisions based on known information with a high degree of accuracy.
- is able to form three dimensional pictures of the airspace assigned AND update that mental picture as it changes.
- gives clear, concise directions and ensuring what was said was received and understood by the person on the other end of the conversation
- is able to process large amounts of information, sort it out, distill it down, and take action, e.g. move the complex to the simple.
Distilling attributes down opened up possibilities! I was not doomed, trapped nor a victim of other’s actions, choices or values. I was not a victim, period.
The fear vanished. Even though the possibility of looking for another job, dealing with changes, upheaval, and even a move would have been challenging, the fear was gone. Preparing for options on my terms, within the realms I had control of, made the potential transition less daunting.
Personal Assets Inventory – Innate Abilities
Looking at the few skills above, I made a list of potential occupations:
- A dispatcher for an airline, trucking company, the railroad or even law enforcement
- Law enforcement itself
- Coordination of emergency room activities
- ….to name a few
I could wait tables or be a short order cook while looking and/or training for another occupation. The personal inventory was, and still is, key. The truth is, these assets were already mine to use as I desired. My part was to identify them.
Take Action Based on Truth
Putting one’s skills into this form is simply:
- looking at your day-to-day activities and experience
- listing the skills required to accomplish the tasks
- imaging other applications
- Believe that you have all you need – yes you do!
- Purpose to discover and inventory the talents, gifts and skills you possess, THEN
- Inventory the resources currently at hand – They are not out of reach!
An Abundance of Help
There are countless (well it seems so) resources out there. A lot are free which enables one to try a particular mentor or program out before making a purchase. For instance:
- the public library for books, books on CD and other resources
- listen to podcast
To be honest, implementing the free information available can get you well down the path of this segment of your Stonebridge journey. Start with these links:
The next two cost. However, they not only measure your
methods of doing things, but also how you relate to others. I personally have not taken these (yet) but they come highly recommend by people I trust.
They are especially helpful for team interaction and when hiring people
to ensure a good fit for the team and tasks at hand.
Having and maintaining a personal assets inventory is valuable no matter what your current situation is. It is good stewardship of you!
What one action will you take this week toward forming or updating your personal assets inventory? Please share in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe!