This week we’re featuring a guest post from Jeff Stodola. We’re excited about working with Jeff on future projects for ABCI and our clients.

Not to get too “meta,” but in the theme of Jeff’s article, we have seldom used guest posts in the past.


Partly because I have a bias.

Many high-performance, perfectionist types suffer from this bias as well.

We were always the kids that got stuck doing all the work on group projects at school. We were the ones would end up working all night upon discovering that none of our “teammates” had completed their parts of the assignment to our satisfaction.

What’s changed? As grown-ups, we get to choose our team. And, we get to choose people whose objectives, level of perfectionism, and level of ambition match (or at least harmonize) with our own.

Jeff’s passion and energy for all things aviation is similar to our own, but his experience is quite different. We’re looking forward to seeing how someone who has spent the past few years flying fighter jets from aircraft carriers in the Arabian Gulf will leverage that focus into great marketing materials for our clients.

ABCI would not be where we are without all of our clients and team members, who all bring something unique to the table. We get to work with the best people in the industry. We’re not alone, and neither are you!

Jeff’s article about the History Channel’s show “Alone” –

You’re Not Alone

By Jeffrey Stodola

A great survival show airing on The History Channel shows us what it’s like to be on your own in the wilderness. Predictably, it’s named “Alone”. The show starts with 10 men, all of whom are survival experts, each dropped off in the wilderness of Vancouver Island. They are miles apart from each other and separated by mountains and/or water to ensure that they remain alone the entire time (aside from the bears and cougars trying to snack on them, of course!). They don’t even have a camera crew with them, so they are filming themselves while trying to survive by creating shelter, starting a fire, drinking clean water, and eating some food. Last man standing wins $500,000. Simple, exciting, and intriguing!


I was pretty excited when I heard about this show. I wanted to see how the experts would do in such trying circumstances. Some obvious reasons for why the men might quit, or “tap out”, came to mind. Starting with the most likely, I thought they would tap out from being: cold, wet, hungry, thirsty, or sick/injured. My initial predictions were wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong! Good thing I wasn’t on this show!

Without giving away details and spoiling a rainy weekend for you to binge watch a show which consistently causes brawny wilderness men to fall to their knees and cry (thus making you feel better about yourself in the comfort of your living room), the one and only reason people have given up so far is… themselves.

They get into their own minds, imagine or magnify fears, focus on those fears, and give up very quickly after that. The ones who don’t dwell on dangerous possibilities survive, and even thrive in these conditions.

Does this sound familiar? It should! It’s the perfect allegory for every business out there, even yours! The only differences are that you’re not alone unless you choose to be, and there is a heck of a lot more than $500,000 on the line.

As a leader in the aviation industry, you don’t need to be able to do everything related to your business. You need to excel in your niche. You might need help in IT, finance, acquisition, supply chain management, or marketing. Probably marketing! If you had to do all of these things alone, you’d get frustrated, focus on all the possible ways you could fail, and quickly give up just like the men stranded on Vancouver Island. Notice I didn’t say you would fall to your knees crying? I don’t think you’d do that.

What should you do next (besides set up your DVR to record Alone every Thursday night?)

Sit down with your team and identify your strengths and weaknesses, both as individuals and as a group. Then focus your time on maximizing your strengths and determine how to fix your weaknesses. There will be some weaknesses that you can’t (or don’t want to) fix, and that’s ok. In fact, it’s great! If you are able to accurately identify what you’re NOT great at, then you’re far ahead of your competition, and you can use that priceless information to your advantage.

Those are the areas where you need to find help. Help can come in the way of a consultant, outsourcing a small part of your business, or identifying a specific quality that is essential in the next employee you hire.

Isolating these weaknesses won’t be easy and it won’t be comfortable, but it will be well worth your time. So if you’ve done this at some point in the past, or are doing it now, we want to hear from you!

Please let us know what weakness you’ve identified recently, and what you did to resolve these weaknesses, because I’d be willing to bet you’re NOT alone, and there are many other people and companies out there that are challenged by some of the same problems… they just might not know it yet.


About Jeff Stodola

jeff StodolaJeff graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Professional Flight Technology. He was commissioned through the Navy R.O.T.C. program as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and was selected for pilot training. During 10 years of active duty flying T-34C Mentor, T-45A Goshawk , EA-6B Prowler, and EA-18G Growler aircraft, he deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and most recently finished a flight instructor tour in the EA-18G. Jeff has transitioned to the reserves and will continue flying the Growler with VAQ-209 Star Warriors.

He was recently hired as a First Officer at a major U.S. airline, and is looking forward to re-learning how to flare a plane again after more than a decade of flying onto aircraft carriers. Jeff’s passion for all things aviation is only matched by his joy of sharing that passion with others! He currently lives in Woodinville, WA with his wife and two children.}..

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