Former Fighter Pilot Chandra Beckman Faces the Battle of Her Lifetime
is a retired US Air Force fighter pilot who knows a bit about working in and managing difficult situations. Maneuvering through the many challenges in being an extreme minority as a female fighter pilot with children, Chandra continually found ways to overcome. The will-power, grit and determination that saw her through tough times in military and parenting situations was exactly what she needed when she faced the largest challenge of her life: her own health crisis. Undiagnosed multi-systemic issues for over a decade left her in long periods of house bound (and occasional bed-bound) states, discarded by the conventional medical realm. Based on her journey she is now creating a life in which she can use her “battle scars” to assist others who find themselves stuck in places where it seems no one can help."
These days, Chandra is a Certified Human Potential Coach (CHPC) and a member of the International Coach Federation. She helps people identify their obstacles and define success for themselves through her company Soul Centric Coaching & Consulting. Find out more at chandrabeckman.com.
The following is an excerpt from our conversation with Chandra.
Passionistas: Chandra, what's the one thing you're most passionate about.
Chandra Beckman: The one thing I'm most passionate about now is inclusive, inclusive healthcare options for all Americans. My journey was on laborious and costly, and I realized that if I was not in the financial position, that I was very fortunate to be in, I would not have been able to obtain the care that I did. And so I think it's very, very important for all of these health care options to be available to all Americans.
Passionistas: We totally agree. So let's start at the beginning of your journey. Why don't you tell everybody what you were doing for a career when your journey began?
Chandra: I was flying fighter jets for the United States Air Force, and I was 10 years into my career when my health started to fail. And it was very, very odd symptoms ranging from abdominal pain to GI issues, to headaches, to sinus issues, to things like mood changes, where I had previously been really optimistic and, you know, I loved challenges. I wanted to tackle anything that that could be done. And I started just getting snippy and short and angry. And my physical strength just started going away. Like literally I'm going to the gym working out more than I had been in the previous two years. And the number of sit-ups I could do was going backwards. And my physical strength just got zapped.
Passionistas: Before we get into your journey to discover what that was all about. Tell us a little bit about being a fighter pilot. What inspired you to become a fighter pilot? And what was that like?
Chandra: So I was inspired to be a fighter pilot by the movie "Top Gun." And I think I saw that way back in 1986 and I was sixth grade or so, but I loved the energy. I love the passion, the speed pushing yourself to the limit. And I just decided that's what I wanted to do. I had no idea how to get there. I had help along the way, very, very fortunate to link up with an Air Force recruiter who steered me down the path that I needed to take in order to achieve that goal.
Learn more about Chandra at her website. Listen to Chandra’s interview on The Passionistas Project Podcast here.