168: John Foley is an original. Full of positive energy, he is not only GLAD TO BE HERE but talks about bringing greatness to teams. He would know being the lead pilot as a Blue Angel!

September 11, 2020

John Foley

How exactly did guest John Foley become a Blue Angel and what was his motivation? “Blue Angels are Navy fighter pilots. So, we come from the instructor ranks usually. Bottomline is, we fly jets off aircraft carriers. That was always my dream as a little boy. I remember, Mark, 12-years-old, my dad took me to an air show. Now I love my dad. He was my hero, right? He takes me to this air show. He was an army officer and an engineer. So I thought that is what I’m going to be in life. He takes me to this air show. I will never forget this day. I’m looking up in the sky, and I see these six magnificent blue jets. You know how you just feel it? You don’t just see them, you can feel it?”

On this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, we talk with John Foley, Former Blue Angel Pilot, Keynote Speaker, High Performance Expert, Glad To Be Here Mindset, and Founder of John Foley Inc.,who talks about the path to becoming a Blue Angel and the qualifications. “First thing is. You’ve got to go to college, right, and there are different routes, ok? Because you need to become an officer and then get a pilot’s slot. There are a couple ways to do that. For me, I went to Naval Academy.”

What You Will Learn:

What is the second step that got John Foley to Blue Angel status? “You go into flight training and you’ve got to do as well as you can and typically you are not sure which airplane you are going to fly. Blue Angels need to fly fighters or tactical aircrafts. You’ve got to get your butt in a tactical aircraft, an F-18, something like that. That is what I did. I actually flew a 7s off the carrier Enterprise. I flew in the movie Top Gun. Did you ever see the movie Top Gun? I did some of the real flying in that.”

John Foley discusses the Fleet Replacement Squad. “You go fly jets off of aircraft carriers for about three years. That is the fleet. That is going out there doing the real thing. We have a saying, if you are still alive after three years, you have figured something. Out of that pool of people, then you usually go to the instructor ranks. So, you go to Top Gun. You go to what is called the Fleet Replacement Squad. That is where you train people, not how to fly but how to fight the airplane. That pool of people, those instructor ranks those people that are really doing the job in the fleet. They get to apply to become the Blue Angels, and it is a selection process and at the end of the day it takes about a year or two and the team picks its own replacements. It is one of the things in the entire Navy where the replacements are picked by the current team, not by Washington.”

Did he every encounter anything where he had to eject or his teammates had to eject? “The good news for me is, I didn’t have to eject. But, three times I wanted to and I couldn’t, and what I mean by that is, there is an ejection environment which, which means you have to be at a certain altitude, a certain air speed. You don’t want to be inverted 50 feet off of the ground. When you eject, you just become a dot. The thing is, you have to be in a certain envelope.” 

Just how dangerous is being a Blue Angel?  “Priority is safety. As, you are looking at that and it is extremely safe what we do. I did that, ok. You are just on the edge. So when you are on the edge, and you know this in your life, you know this with climbing. Is climbing dangerous? The question I would ask you. How many people have died trying to do Everest, which you are going to do?. With your mind set on that, I guarantee it is the same flying the jet.”

What does fear and uncertainty mean to John Foley? “I actually believe uncertainty has opportunity in it. On the same side of the coin, it has challenges in it. The first thing to address what is going on in the world today is, first off, compassion and awareness. There is some tough things out there. Black Lives Matter. You and I played ball. We know what it is like when you are a team, alright? You don’t know the color. I didn’t, of the skin of the person next to me. They were just a person. They were teammates.”

Things are Coming From You

Things are coming from you not at you. “If you think the world is coming at you, like COVID, and it is going to get you, you’ve got to deal with fear, ok. Because fear is an outside force coming at you that you don’t have control over. Bingo. Right? So, what I try to do when I talk to the companies I speak with, the people I speak with is that we have to understand how we perceive. How does the mind perceive the outside world? First thing is, the truth is, it is coming from you. So you do have some power and some control.” 

The Makings of a Great Leader

During this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, John Foley also discusses the power of viewing things from other people’s points of view. “Instead of trying to be right, who cares about being right. Can I see the world through her eyes? If I can do that, it is actually called exchanging yourself for others, there is a technique on that, then you start to become more aware.”

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