“Ask God to restore your confidence in His character.”
This month is Red Cross month. Since the Miracle on the Hudson, I have been honored to speak on behalf of the American Red Cross around the country and my March is usually filled with celebrating and thanking the Red Cross for what they do every day. Last week I spoke four times for the Central Florida region and was honored to do several interviews on their behalf. After one interview, I connected with a friend who hosted a TV show in the central Florida region I met a couple of years ago. When we first met, she had just lost her father and we connected as I had recently lost my father. As we talked, I felt a strange connection with her. She truly loved her father but I saw a twinkle in her eye. I believed that she had the same growth and transformation that I had after the Miracle on the Hudson and after my father had passed. The meaning she had now for what happened to her father has transformed from grief to restoration.
In my Tedx talk, “Bouncing Back- an experience with post traumatic growth syndrome,” my theme was that when faced with a traumatic life event, life takes you back to square one before you can grow. Success leaves clues and those who grow use other people’s experiences to attach a new meaning to the event. And the meaning you attach produces the emotion you need to not only transform but have your life restored. Many people confuse resiliency with restoration. Resilience is the capacity of a social-ecological system to absorb or withstand. Restoration is the ability to receive back more than has been lost to the point where the final state is greater than the original condition. When I speak with other people who have had a traumatic life event, which I call a “personal plane crash,” I find one of the most challenging things people face is the meaning they have attached to their event. They have not found other people’s references to help them attach a new meaning. They put themselves in disempowering “states” therefore they begin a downward spiral, derailing themselves where they see no hope.
I have a special feeling for those who are in that downward spiral. Their “personal plane crash” has impacted them where they are defined by it and get reinforced. When I speak with other people who have faced that critical moment, they often ask me how could I ever get back on a plane, how did I not go into PTSD, why did I take the path I took while others cannot even talk about their experience on the Miracle on the Hudson? Those who ask these questions have attached a disempowering meaning to their event and have not seeked out others who have created a flight plan to grow and modeled that. That is why I did the interview for AARP Magazine and was passionate about sharing some of my strategies in an international Tedx talk, where it could impact people around the world. Many people are in pain and a part of the clarity I had when we were quickly descending into the Hudson River that day was that if I have another chance to create a new “flight plan” for my life, I was going to focus on sharing this “miracle” to help others out of their pain, giving them a strong reference for how to use your “personal plane crash” to positively impact others with strategies on how to do it. I made a commitment to the executive team at the Red Cross to take this miracle to all 50 states to help them with their mission. So far, we are at 40 states and counting.
Everyone in their life will have that one critical moment, that “personal plane crash.” You will not know when it will happen but you will have one. The events of January 15, 2009 were out of my control but one thing I could control is what meaning I attached to it. You can let your “personal plane crash derail you or propel you into new relationships, new careers, new worldviews and a clarity of your mission on earth. Find someone who has grown from their traumatic life event and reach out to them. I speak with people each day to who reach out to me and ask me “how did I put the pieces together?” One thing I have learned is “you have to ASK to be restored.”
I am so glad I reconnected with my friend in Tampa. When I first met her, she was sad about her loss. I empathized with her as I had the same experience eight months earlier. But I am so proud and happy for her as she has attached a new meaning to what her father stood for and is now impacting so many others in ways she will never know. She is resilient, but more importantly, she is restored.
You don’t need a literal plane crash to be restored. You will have your own “personal plane crash” in your life. There are many ways to restoration in your life, growing and connecting instead of being stagnant and withering, The choice will be yours. As my father told me from his deathbed, you are not the first person to face this problem. Seek out others who have faced a “personal plane crash” and have grown and been restored. Check out my Tedx talk on YouTube for some ideas on how you too can transform your life into one that is fulfilling and focused on growing and you too will RESTORED.
Go to DaveSandersonSpeaks.com and for a limited time only, when you purchase a copy of “Moments Matter”and share with me that you read this blog, you will be receive the first episode in my new video series, “Create your own Flight Plan” as a thank you!
I’m excited to share that we’ll have a book signing of “Moments Matter” on 4/11/17 in Statesville, NC. I would be honored if you are in the Statesville area if you would join me!
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Dave Sanderson is the Managing Partner of his firm, Dave Sanderson Speaks Enterprises based out of Charlotte, NC. On January 15, 2009, Dave was the last passenger off the plane that crashed into the Hudson River, best known as “The Miracle on the Hudson” and was largely responsible for making sure so many others made it out safely. In addition to speaking and training, Dave conducts workshops and his book was released titled “Moments Matter” on January 19, 2016, in which he discusses how by employing 12 key resources was a key factor that turned a potential tragedy into the “Miracle on the Hudson” and how does one take a potentially tragic experience and turn it into an opportunity to grow and contribute. He and his wife, Terri, reside in Charlotte, NC. They have four children, Chelsey, Colleen, Courtney, and Chance.