When you start learning to fly, it's usually in a really slow airplane. That stands to reason, of course -- gotta crawl before you can walk.
It was a little different for me. My father flew a Bonanza, a pretty fast single-engine, and I had left seat time in it before I started working with a CFI in a Cessna 152 (tiny, two-seat, slloowww airplane) and officially logging time. Nonetheless, after the initial work and my solo, I stayed in the 152 to build cross-country time and prep for my check ride. I got used to the airspeed.
Then one day, I was with Dad and we were flying into St. Louis. I was still used to the 152 and made a mistake a lot of people do when they move up -- I didn't "stay ahead" of the airplane. This is critical to flying safely -- you need to think ahead of the plane and plan for what's ahead. The faster the plane, the further ahead you need to think. In a Bonanza, it's about two hours ahead -- it can fly you into some bad weather, for example, pretty fast.
Anyway, I was behind the airplane and the next thing I know we're on top of the St. Louis airport. It's busy, we're still at altitude and still too fast. I was ready to ask the controller to let us out of the approach, fly around the airport and come back, but instead, Dad took the airplane, cut the power, "slipped" it (a maneuver that loses altitude fast without increasing airspeed), got us on a good approach speed and on the right glide path, and we landed as assigned without disrupting the traffic flow. He flew the airplane.
That looks like a stupid phrase, doesn't it? Of course he flew the airplane. What else would you do?
Well, you'd be surprised. Anytime I'm with someone who has never flown, and they want to try it, I give them the yoke. Nearly every time, they tentatively put their hand on the yoke and then react to what the airplane does. It climbs a little, they try to make it descend. It banks a little left, they try to level it out. I tell them to cut it out -- stop letting the airplane fly you. You fly it.
Here's the analogy: I was with a friend last week. He's trying to manage a complex project. There's a guy involved that's not particularly helpful. A city government is involved -- that's even worse. He's got a deadline looming. He's discouraged.
I tell him the St. Louis story and persuade him that life will be much easier if he can fly the airplane himself. He's getting jerked all over the map and it feels crappy.
Later, I recount the same story to another friend who is having problems with marketing. He laments that a competitor is talking trash about his company. He lost a couple of employees. He's got a good product but he's about two months behind on a product release. He's worried about losing customers. He feels out of control.
I tell him to fly the airplane. Work from strength. Get in touch with your customers and tell them, "Here's what's going on. We have a product release coming. The quality will be there, as it is today with the core product. You're hearing things about us? Ask me about them. We're not afraid to tell you what's up." Communicate with the media -- find out what they're hearing even if you don't have a story to spin. Open up a blog. Hire someone to do some "opposition research." Get set for the trade shows. Never let up with the customer discussions. He sounds like he feels better already.
Fly the airplane. Make decisions. Work from strength. Reap the benefits.