Never Fly Solo

by Ryan Guina

Never fly solo. Every fighter pilot knows there is an essential rule when going into combat – you always fly with a wingman. And this rule can be applied to almost any situation in life. Your professional network, social network, and family are your wingmen in everyday life, and can play an important role in your success. More importantly, you’re ability to be someone’s wingman can be important to their success in life.

This is the premise of the book, Never Fly Solo, by Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman. Never Fly Solo is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, and it’s a great example of how you use your skills to succeed in life, and more importantly, help others succeed.

Lt. Col. Waldman uses his military background to create a series of motivational and informative chapters in his book, interweaving personal anecdotes, military history, and narrative to motivate and inspire the reader.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Lt. Col. Waldman about his book, his mission, and about what it takes to succeed in the military, in the civilian world, as an entrepreneur, and as a motivational speaker. He has a lot of tips and advice to impart upon the reader, and I won’t attempt to replicate that in this overview – the book does it best. But I did want to share some high points of the interview and his book.

Be Wingman before you need a Wingman. People love to help other people, and are usually more than willing to give a lending hand when asked. But it’s always better to give selflessly before you need help. By giving your time and talents to others, you will meet more people and be recognized as someone who is willing and able to help – and that is exactly the kind of person people want to work and be associated with.

Never stop Wingworking. Waldo defines wingworking as, “networking with a focus on serving others.” Waldo lists wingworking as the #1 way to land a job interview, and speaking from personal experience, I agree. The easiest way to land an interview is through your professional network. A positive personal recommendation will move your resume to the top of the stack and get you an interview much more quickly than simply submitting your resume.

Chairflying – preparing for battle. Chairflying is a military term used by pilots who are doing mission planning. Chairflying includes not only going over the mission points, but also examining what could go wrong and planning for contingencies. This skill can be utilized in almost any aspect of your life, both personal and professional.

Who is this book for? This book is for anyone looking improve their personal life or professional career. That sounds broad, and it is, but this is a high level book that can be applied to a variety of personal and professional situations. This book uses a multitude of military terms and situations, but you don’t need to have a military background to understand it, appreciate it, or gain value from reading it and applying its message (and there is a nifty glossary at the end, so have no fear!).

For more information about Lt. Col. Waldman or his books, please visit and Never Fly Solo.

Published or updated November 12, 2011.
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Money Smarts Blog

Thanks for the mention, Ryan.

I love the term “chairflying”. 🙂



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