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Kim Campbell on How Do You Build the Courage to Lead

Today, I am joined by Former fighter pilot and retired Air Force Colonel Kim Campbell, and we discuss her new book “Flying in the Face of Fear: Lessons on Leading with Courage.” Kim provides practical and inspiring insights on leadership and decision-making during our interview.

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I’ve got lights everywhere flashing, and I realized that I’d lost all of my hydraulics, like the thing required to fly the airplane is hydraulics, and they’re gone. So I don’t even know if I call it a choice of ejecting right over the enemy over Baghdad. And so, I quickly transitioned to using our emergency backup system and hoped that it would work. And sure enough, I flipped the switch and put the jet into our emergency backup system called manual reversion. And thankfully, that airplane finally starts to climb slowly.

Kim Campbell

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Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPodcast Addict, Pocket CastsStitcherCastboxGoogle PodcastsListen NotesAmazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube below.


In This Episode, Kim Campbell And I Discuss Her Debut Book, Flying in the Face of Fear.

Through our deep dive into Kim’s 24-year career in high-risk aerial combat, you’ll discover principles, lessons, and stories that serve as resources for leading through life’s challenges, creating a positive impact, and making a difference. Our interview covers specific strategies for leading in high-stress situations, overcoming challenges in male-dominated environments, and recognizing the normalcy and necessity of simultaneously feeling brave and afraid in critical moments. Today’s episode is an essential leadership blueprint for business and military professionals and a mentorship resource for young and mid-career professionals seeking proven advice.

The interview with Kim Campbell covers the following subjects:

  • How the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy influenced her desire to attend the Air Force Academy
  • The headwinds Kim faced getting selected for the Air Force Academy?
  • The challenge of leading her peers as the Cadet Wing Commander
  • How did she develop a failing forward mindset from flight training?
  • Why do we need to be intentional about analyzing performance?
  • How do you encourage others to embrace vulnerability?
  • Why she decided she wanted to fly the A-10, known as the Warthog,
  • The events that led to her winning the Distinguished Flying Cross.
  • What happens during a fighter pilot debrief, and why is it applicable to life?
  • What is the importance of accountability in leadership?
  • The meaning of the phrase aviate, navigate, and communicate?
  • And much, much more!
  • Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share? Drop us a line at [email protected]m!
263 | How Do You Build the Courage to Lead | Kim Campbell | Passion Struck with John R. Miles

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Starter Packs

Quote by Kim Campbell from the Passion Struck podcast on why just being who you are is important to being a leader.
Quote by Kim Campbell from the Passion Struck podcast on why just being who you are is important to being a leader.

New to the show? These Starter Packs are collections of our most popular episodes grouped by topic, and we now have them also on Spotify. To find your old favorites, you can also browse starter packs for existing listeners. Every week, John interviews everyday heroes from all walks of life. Learn how to subscribe to the show and never miss a new episode and topic.

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More From My Interview With Kim Campbell

During our interview, I asked Kim why we need to be intentional about analyzing our performance.

Kim Campbell explains, “This debrief concept, and you can call it an after-action report or a post-team huddle. Whatever it is, I think it’s important to just walk through what happened to talk about those lessons so that you improve and make a difference the next time. We talk about doing this in our personal lives.

Flying in the Face of Fear by Kim Campbell for the Passion Struck recommended book list.

My husband and I will sometimes debrief a tough conversation that we’ve had with our teenager, and maybe it didn’t go so well. And what will we do differently the next time we talk through it? So it doesn’t have to be this big, formal, lengthy discussion. It can be just a quick huddle discussion. I’ve used it as a leader when we’ve made decisions about things, and maybe those decisions were, in hindsight, not the best ones to make.

We sit down. We talk about it and have a conversation. We analyze how we got there, what was the root cause, and then how we want to change it and how we want to move forward. So this idea is that you do a debrief, you’re intentional about analyzing your performance so that you can learn from it and take lessons and improve the next time.

For me, the next step with that it’s good that individuals do that. But I also think sharing lessons with the rest of the team is essential now. So it’s not like you keep it stove-piped in just one section of an organization. You share the lessons more broadly so that other people can also learn. Easier said than done sometimes. Because sometimes those lessons are an admission of mistakes.

They’re letting people know that things didn’t go as well, which can be hard. But sharing those lessons is critical if you’re looking at the whole concept of elevating team performance.”

Thanks, Kim Campbell

If you enjoyed this interview with Kim Campbell, let her know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout on Instagram:

Click here to show Kim Campbell your thoughts about today’s episode on Instagram!

Click here to let John R. Miles know about your number one takeaway from this episode!

And if you want us to answer your questions or you have a topic you would like John to discuss on one of our upcoming weekly Momentum Friday episodes, drop us a line at [email protected].

Resources From The Show With Kim Campbell

Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Passion Struck podcast receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you so much for being so supportive!

My solo episode on why you need to stop chasing perfection:

Want to hear my best interviews from 2022? Check out episode 233 on intentional greatness and episode 234 on intentional behavior change.

My interview with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman and Dr. Jordan Feingold on Choosing Growth and transcending self-doubt, fear, and anxiety:

My interview with NYU Stern School of Business Professor Scott Galloway on Why America is Adrift:

My solo episode on why micro choices matter:

About Today’s Guest, Kim Campbell

Passion Struck podcast album cover episode 263 with Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell, a retired Air Force Colonel, dedicated over 24 years of service to the Air Force as a fighter pilot and senior military leader. During her career, she logged 1,800 flight hours in the A-10 Warthog, with over 100 of those hours spent on combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, where she provided close air support to ground troops. In recognition of her heroism during a close air support mission in Baghdad, Kim was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 2003 for successfully recovering her damaged aircraft.

Kim’s leadership skills have been honed through her experience leading hundreds of Airmen at home and abroad in deployed locations, where she has demonstrated her ability to drive cultural change and lead complex organizations. She is passionate about inspiring and empowering high-performance teams to achieve success. She firmly believes that leaders who lead with courage and connect with their team earn trust and loyalty.

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John R. Miles is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Passion Struck. This full-service media company helps people live intentionally by creating best-in-class educational and entertainment content. John is also a prolific public speaker, venture capitalist, and author named to the ComputerWorld Top 100 IT Leaders.

John is the host of the top-ranked Passion Struck Podcast. The show focused on exploring the mindset and philosophy of the world’s most inspiring people to learn their lessons to living intentionally. Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to live better, be better, and impact.

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