I have a friend named Larry who is a retired Air Force Pilot. One day he shared with me an interesting fact about flying. He said that, for every single degree you fly off course, you will miss your target landing spot by 92 feet for every mile you fly.

That amounts to about one mile off target for every sixty miles flown.

If you decided to start at the equator and fly around the earth, one degree off would land you almost 500 miles off target.

So, the longer you travel off course, the further you will be away from the intended target.

Is that acceptable? Not if I am on the plane. On a flight from JFK to LAX, that might put me 40 miles out in the Pacific Ocean. One degree off could be the difference between making it to an important meeting on time, or using my seat as a flotation device.

What are you accepting in your life? What is your tolerance for being off course?

Jim Rohn once related that neither a marriage nor a business fails overnight. Cataclysmic failure generally comes from a series of small, correctable failures. I like to call these failures “one degree failures.”

Just as it is hard to recognize being one degree off while flying at 30,000 feet, it is hard to realize these “one degree failures” in our own daily lives. That’s why we need a crystal clear flight plan for our life and business, an easy way to measure success or failure, and someone who cares enough about us to hold us accountable.

Straying off course doesn’t have to result in cataclysmic failure in life or business. Anyone can make in-flight adjustments along the way.

We all get derailed from time to time. We all experience some type of failure. Champions realize they are off course, and they do something about it. Champions recognize their failures, make corrections, and get back on track.

One of the best books I have ever read about learning and recovering from failure is Failing Forward by John Maxwell. In that book, John says that “the difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.”

There is no need for despair if you are off course. However, there is a need to do something about it.

There is a wonderful quote in The Treasury Of Quotes by Jim Rohn which states:

“We don’t have to change that much for it to make a great deal of difference. A few simple disciplines can have a major impact on how your life works out in the next 90 days, let alone in the next 12 months or the next 3 years.”

If you are on course, stay vigilant. If you aren’t, find your way back. In either case, enjoy the ride!

Are you on course to achieve your long-term goals? If not, what corrections can you make today to ensure you will hit the target?