I had the awesome opportunity to fly from Mobile, AL to New Orleans, LA and back this evening with the United States Coast Guard. We flew in a HC-144 like pictured above. It was an incredible experience. I was really paying close attention on how they did things because these are the 2nd best pilots in the world (Air Force to the front!). I started to realize they had a system and they trusted the system. It seemed to take forever for them to finish their checks. I counted six different checklist they used before even starting to taxi on the runway.
This was even after we had a briefing on our mission for the evening. It would eventually consist of a couple of “touch and go’s” and a couple of circle maneuvers. All the gauges had to be working, the engines tested and communications were checked and double checked. The list would go on and on. Even a couple of times the pilot or co-pilot would say that he believed they left out a step or check and they would go back to it. I was thinking to myself how in the world do they remember all of this. Then I saw it, they had a cheat sheet, brilliant!
As I have gotten older I have found out just how important checklist (cheat sheets) are. One of the things that I have changed in the last couple of years is writing things down. Most days in my office I make out a list of things that I need to get accomplished that day. It’s not that they are all that important to everyone else but they are very important to me.
Before I walk out of my house I have a saying. Usually out loud, I will say “wallet, cell phone, keys – wallet, cell phone, keys” and now that I am trying to wear a watch I will say “wallet, cell phone, keys, watch”. It started out being a little funny but now that I have said it enough I trust that list. I have a wallet to buy something if I need it, a cell phone to use in case I need to reach someone, keys to get me where I need to go, and the timepiece. That’s a very important piece if anyone knows me very well.
I wonder what would happen if we set ourselves a list to heed in our personal lives. Before I give you an idea of a list I would like to share this with you.
A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
Always being ready for the unforeseen danger is what the Coast Guard prides itself on. Semper Paratus, Always Ready (prepared).
So what if we prepare ourselves for each day with a list. I like one that states this:
- Be prepared to love those deserving and undeserving.
- Be prepared to give not until it hurts but until its gone.
- Be prepared to combat the unforeseen dangers head on.
- Be prepared to start fresh and new again tomorrow.
I am reminded of this story:
A handsome young man and a beautiful girl met and it was love at first sight. They immediately got married and went on their honeymoon. On their wedding night, the bride went into the bathroom to freshen up. Unfortunately, she had a case of bad breath so severe she had to take a powerful drug to control it. She was about to take the drug when she decided it would be best to let her husband in on her secret since they would be spending the rest of their lives together. So she returned to bed without taking the drug. Her husband then went into the bathroom to freshen up. He also had a problem with foot odor so offensive it required a special preparation to keep it under control. He was about to apply the preparation when he decided it would be better to let his wife know about his problem because she would find out about it sooner or later anyway. He skipped applying the preparation, returned to bed, grabbed his wife and gave her a big kiss. She said, “Honey, there’s something I have to tell you.” “OK,” he said, “but I already know what it is… you ate my socks.”
Come on… you know you at least snickered.
Have a great week and start a new list!