This week’s podcast is with Jim DiMatteo.

After graduating from the University of California Berkeley in 1986, Jim followed in his father’s and brother’s footsteps and joined the US Navy where he began an unprecedented Naval Aviation career.

He retired as a Captain and has amassed nearly 5,000 hours in 5 different fighter aircraft (F/A-18, F-16, F-14, F-5, A-4) in over twenty-five years of service.

After extensive combat flight time in Desert Storm, Jim was recruited into the prestigious TOPGUN Adversary squadron. It was there that he accumulated more TOPGUN Adversary flight time than anyone in the history of the US Navy and Marine Corps.

He was awarded numerous accolades, including US Navy Fighter Pilot of the Year and US Navy Adversary Pilot of the Year.

After retiring, he became the first Race Director in America for Red Bull and the U.S. Director of Aviation for Brietling.

Jim was recently inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame for his lifetime achievements in aviation.

In this conversation, we discuss how he prepares to make decisions under duress, the role visualization has played in his success, and the most dangerous moments for any fighter pilot.

Jim has lost many loved ones and peers due to the nature of how dangerous his craft is.

He has a refreshing perspective on the things that matter most in life and I hope that rubs off on you in this conversation.

“I had an attitude that said I’m going to do my best and if it works great, and if doesn’t c’est la vie and we move on to something else.”

In This Episode:

  • Wanting to be a fighter pilot from an early age, following in dad and brother’s footsteps
  • Dad and brother letting him know he didn’t need to do it but also were supportive if we wanted to
  • Having a family that was very relationship oriented
  • His family motto: trying your hardest and rolling with the punches
  • The common trait fighter pilots share
  • How he prepares mentally to make decision under duress
  • The role visualization played in his success
  • What’s allowed him to succeed in high pressure situations
  • How he generates confidence
  • The most dangerous thing fighter pilots must partake in
  • His appreciation for life due to losing so many close friends
  • How to cope with loss


Listen via: Apple Podcasts | Android | Stitcher | Pocket Casts |  RSS


Jim DiMatteo flying

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to receive the transcript to this conversation and receive additional premium content!


This episode is brought to you by:

Athletic Greens is the Most Complete Supplement for a better you. With 75 ingredients covering 11 areas of health, it gives you the optimum nutrition you need to perform your best, everyday.

Click here for an exclusive Athletic Greens offer for Finding Mastery listeners only – a FREE 20 count travel pack (Valued at $99) with any purchase.


WHOOP transforms how athletes understand their bodies and unlocks their inner potential. Designed for the 24-hour performance lifestyle, WHOOP has built a system across hardware, analytics and community used by the most elite athletes in the world to positively change behavior through actionable recommendations.

Learn more about WHOOP’s premium membership service here. They also have an exclusive offer for the Finding Mastery community — Get your first month of WHOOP membership FREE with the promo code: FINDINGMASTERY at checkout!

Halo Sport, the first product from Halo Neuroscience, uses Neuropriming technology to improve the brain’s response to motor skill training.

Get $100 off Halo Sport when you purchase via this Finding Mastery link!


Retired US Navy Captain

Jim Dimatteo is a Top Gun pilot who commanded Top Gun and the Top Gun Adversary Program. He is the race director for Red Bull Air Races and now runs Breitling’s Aviation program.