Posted May 27, 2020 in Podcast
Adversity Builds Resiliency with Trever Rossini
Have you ever gone through something so difficult, so hard, that you never thought you could ever recover?
Maybe like me, you’ve been in extreme debt. Or maybe, you went through a divorce that tore you to pieces. Perhaps, COVID-19 has put you out of a job or placed a loved one in the hospital. In difficult times, it’s easy to lose hope and give into despair, but it’s situations like these where we grow, adapt, and build resilience.
My guest today is someone who has been through tons of adversity and came out the other side with a stronger, better character as a result. I met Trever Rossini several years ago, and from the moment I met him, I knew his story would inspire so many people.
In this episode, we talk about his journey into aviation, how he pivoted out of his career into his dream job, how adversity shaped his character for the better, and how to achieve the right work-life balance. At the end of the interview, Trever also talks about the power of adoption and gives his insight on the foster care system as an adopted kid himself.
Trever gives a lot of great advice in this episode, so get out a pen and paper and get ready to take notes, because you’re not going to want to miss it! Let’s go!
Who Is Trever Rossini?
Trever Rossini is the owner of Inflight Pilot Training, which provides some of the BEST flight training in the entire industry. Trever himself has over 1,700 hours of flight time and has a passion for teaching.
Trever earned his Flight Instructor ratings by age 20, and in just two years he earned his FAA GoldSeal designation. He became a flight school owner at just 23 years old, and he loves spreading his passion for aviation with others.
Even though he was extremely successful at a young age, Trever’s story isn’t without its hardships. He grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota as the adopted son of an attorney and a therapist. His birth parents were very young and unable to take care of him.
Then, when Trever was only 11 years old, his adoptive father passed away unexpectedly. His mom raised him along with his two brothers and his sister to adulthood. Fortunately, his oldest brother Paul became a stand-in father figure for him.
When he was in high school, Trever wanted to be an auto mechanic, but his family pushed him towards college (University of Montana), and that’s where he discovered aviation as his passion. He wanted to do something different, something that would make him stand out from the rest of the crowd, and aviation was the perfect profession.
“[At first], I didn’t really know that aviation was a career choice to be honest. … I had never really been exposed to it, but it [looked] kind of like cars [but] you get to fly. And so I ended up taking a discovery flight out at the airport there, and I was hooked instantly. I can get paid to do this. This is amazing.” – Trever Rossini
Today, Trever is spreading his love of aviation to the world through his company Inflight Pilot Training. But let’s take a step back to discuss some of the struggles Trever experienced in his training and what adversity taught him in the process.
Pivoting in Your Career and Taking Risks
After Trever decided to pursue aviation, he was at the airport every single day. It takes most people somewhere between three to six months total to get their piloting license. It took Trever 46 days.
“At that point, I was just dead-set on that. I was like, ‘This is totally what I want to do for the rest of my life.’ So, I thought I had this vision in my head [that] I was going to be an airline pilot … [but in Montana] everything took a little bit longer with the terrain. So I actually ended up coming back to Minnesota. Inflight actually existed [at the time] … and so I ended up doing my instrument [license] at Inflight.” – Trever Rossini
In 2011, Trever was ready to start teaching clients how to fly and he took a job at Inflight as an instructor. He also started working at a regional airline for a little bit, but didn’t love the lifestyle, even though it was his dream.
“The lifestyle was just not my cup of tea … everybody says, ‘You just gotta kind of slave through and suffer for a while until you can hit your hours … [But] finally I said, “All right, I can’t live like this. I’m gonna go back to instructing, and I’ll wait for something better to come along.” – Trever Rossini
Have you ever found yourself in a similar place? You start pursuing a career, but when you get there, you realize it’s not exactly what you thought it would be? If so, it may be time for a pivot. Trever decided to pivot back to instructing, which was something he enjoyed. But he quickly faced another adversity:
“In the summer of 2012 … the owner [of Inflight] sat us down … [business] had gotten really slow, and it seemed like the vibe was kind of dying. And the owner set us down and said, ‘I’m closing the school in two weeks.’” – Trever Rossini
At first, Trever was really disappointed — after all, he had just returned to teaching after flying regional airplanes. But instead of letting this adversity debilitate him, he looked at it in a different way. What if instead of leaving Inflight, he saved Inflight? He started talking to one of his former students who was looking to invest in a business. Then in January of 2013, Trever bought the company.
“It all happened so fast. One second, I’m losing my job. The next second, I’m the owner of the place.” – Trever Rossini
In a whirlwind of changing jobs and losing jobs, Trever was suddenly a business owner. It was an exciting opportunity, and Trever was extremely enthusiastic, but he hadn’t made it out of the woods yet.
Running a Business Isn’t a One-Person Job
When Trever bought Inflight, he was only 23, and he had no experience running a business. He had no idea what he had gotten himself into.
Has that kind of thing ever happened to you? You’ve pivoted, taken a risk, but now you’re in unfamiliar territory and not sure of anything. This was exactly how Trever felt at first.
“It was definitely a lot of learning … a lot of business stuff that was kind of unfamiliar to me. … It was definitely a grind. I was working 70 [to] 80 hour weeks. At the time, I thought that [was] how you ran a business. You threw yourself against the wall and just kept doing it until you made it or something. … It took me … probably about two and a half years until I was really starting to burn out.” – Trever Rossini
All day every day, Trever was talking on the phone, feuling the planes, or instructing clients. It wasn’t a sustainable lifestyle, but through this adversity, Trever learned the in’s and out’s of running a business and how a company can be truly successful.
“Now it’s more of a strategy game. … Back then, it was just me. Everything came through me. I was the sole voice for everything. And now we actually have a management leadership team in place. … And so now what I’ve realized is you really should never do anything that you don’t want to be doing or that you’re not good at. My time is not best spent on the phone talking with customers because I’m not great at it. There [are] other people who are way better at it than me. And so now that I have all those pieces in place, it’s way more fun as a team.” – Trever Rossini
You don’t have to do everything yourself, even if you’re the CEO. Businesses work best when you have a team of people who support each other and work in their zones of genius. I asked Trever what advice he had for people starting as business owners:
“I think the first [tip] is ‘Don’t give up.’ There will be a light at the end of the tunnel. That was kind of my life motto growing up too. It was like, ‘All right, this might be kind of a crappy situation now, but there’s gotta be a light somewhere at the end of the tunnel.’ So really just keep going and find creative ways to take the load off you. One of my big things was trying to automate a lot of our processes and systems, so that I didn’t have to do everything. And so the more you can automate the better, to just free up your time a little bit.” – Trever Rossini
This is great advice, friends. You don’t need to break your back trying to do everything yourself when it comes to being a business owner. 80-hour work weeks are not necessary for success. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work hard, but there’s a difference between working hard and working yourself into the ground. Trever discovered that the hard way, but that process has been such a learning opportunity for him, and now he’s crushing it (without crushing himself).
Finding a Work-Life Balance
Even when you cut back on working insane hours, finding the right work-life balance can be difficult. As an entrepreneur, you’re always on the job — the work follows you home. I wanted to know how Trever manages this in his own life and asked him to share some tips on finding a healthy medium of work and play.
#1. Invest in hobbies that are outside of work.
Trever admits that finding a perfect work-life balance is hard to find, but something that really helps him is intentionally setting time apart to invest in something different.
“I like to go do car stuff [and] car shows. It’s kind of therapeutic to some degree because nobody can really reach you on your phone.” – Trevor Rossini
What are some things that you enjoy that are separate from your work life? It could be anything as simple as reading a book or taking an ax-throwing class. Whatever you do, make sure that work isn’t your whole life.
#2. Intentionally spend time with family.
Trever’s got nieces and nephews that he loves to hang out with, and he intentionally plans time with family throughout the year. Are you letting your business life steal you away from your family? Your business is important and it requires dedication, but it can’t replace the importance of family connection and community.
#3. Travel when you can.
Trever loves to travel, and going back to Italy is number one on his list right now, but his favorite place in the world is Montana. Traveling is a great way to take a break from work by literally distancing yourself from the office. Work may follow you to an extent, but a vacation provides the perfect respite from the everyday hustle and allows for quality time with family and friends.
Reach Beyond with Trever Rossini
To finish out the interview, I asked Trever the TED talk question: “If you were to give a TED Talk on something you’re not known for, what would it be?” This was Trever’s response:
“Probably about the power of adoption because that really hits home for me as I was an adopted child. A lot of people don’t even realize the whole foster epidemic and I don’t know if [you’ve] ever heard of a guy named Josh Shipp. He’s a speaker, and he was a foster kid himself and he says, ‘Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.’ … There needs to be a little bit more awareness around that. … I don’t think I’d be in the position I’m in now if I wasn’t adopted. I think it gave me a lot of resiliency and tools to kind of go into overdrive.” – Trevor Rossini
What a great word. Even if adoption or foster care doesn’t affect you directly, I would encourage you to think about ways you can support adoption in your community.
I was honored to have Trever on the podcast, and I know you’re going to enjoy this interview, so make sure to listen to the full episode! If you want to learn more about Inflight Pilot Training, you can find Trever on Instagram @inflightpilottraining and on Facebook!
And if you found value from this episode, it would mean a lot to me if you would take a few seconds and write a five-star review on Apple Podcasts and maybe share it with some of your friends. I’d be so grateful! I’d also love it if you would tag me, @kyle_depiesse, and Trever, @inflightpilottraining, on Instagram with your greatest takeaways from the episode!
Cheers to your success! I’m rooting for you.