For as long as I can remember, I have always loved cowboys. No, not the Dallas Cowboys, the Cowboys that ranch.
Several months after the Miracle on the Hudson, I was invited to speak in San Antonio, Texas, on behalf of the American Red Cross. At that time, when I was invited to speak in a city, I would not only speak at the event but also other events on behalf of the Red Cross to raise awareness to give time, talent and treasure.
This event happened close to the first anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson and at that time, when I traveled, I had the honor to meet with and speak for the associates who worked at the air terminal station in the city I was traveling to.
So, when I arrived in San Antonio, I met with the station manager and his team. Thanked them for what they do and a little talk about what happened on January 15, 2009. When I got done, I was thanked by the station manager, who escorted me to my ride to take me to the hotel. I told him how cool his cowboy hat was as we walked out. See, in San Antonio, it is unusual if you DON’T wear a cowboy hat.
The thanked me, we shook hands and I was off to my events for the Red Cross.
The following day, after I spoke in New Braunfels, Texas, that afternoon we had a book signing for the book Brace for Impact which all the proceeds were going to the Red Cross. As I was signing books, the station manager of the US Airways terminal approached me.
I acknowledged him and he layed down a big box. I was mystified and he asked me to open it. When I opened it, it was a brand new Stetson hat. I was overwhelmed and emotional. No one had ever given me a gift like that which brought me back to my youth.
When the show Yellowstone began, I started to watch it. The storyline engulfs you and it depicts neo-western cowboys. It had it all for me.
A part of the storyline shares a fictional place in Wyoming called the Train Station. It refers to a roadside cliff in Wyoming that the Dutton crew use to deposit dead bodies of their enemies. It’s the trash can for everyone who’s attacked their family. It lays in a jurisdictional deadzone in a county with a population of exactly zero.
Now, I don’t endorse a real “Train Station” where you can deposit your enemies but as I was speaking on a podcast recently, I spoke about the “Train Station ” in a different light.
I was asked about my Tedx talk, Bouncing Back- PTGS, and some additional strategies on how to bounce back from a challenging or traumatic situation. After I shared some additional thoughts, which I have recently shared in my blogs, I said something that caught the interviewer off guard.
I mentioned that one of the strategies I used to bounce back is I had my own “Train Station.” She asked what a “Train Station” was. I told her it’s what I do and where I go every morning.
One of the things I learned from my mentors, Bill and Tony, was everyday, people throw trash at you. Negative thoughts or roadblocks that if you absorb them, they will slow you down or take you down a path you do not want to go. A plane crash is a big roadblock, if you let it be.
Shortly after the Miracle on the Hudson, I would occasionally wake up and see parts of that six minute flight or the time shortly after in my head. I could not go back to sleep as I would think through what I saw and analyze it.
Sometimes it gave me clarity and sometimes I would get emotional. Even my family didn’t know what I was going through.
But I learned a long time ago is you have to burn the past daily.
One of the ways I bounced back and got through that time was every morning , as soon as I woke up, I would say a prayer of gratitude and take any of those negative thoughts to my “Train Station.” It was trash that I could deposit these negative thought enemies, where no one would know where they lay and they would never come back. They were in a deadzone.
So I shared with the interviewer, a strategy I used and still use is every morning , at approximately 3:50am, I wake up, say a prayer of gratitude and deposit anything negative that happened the day before at my “Train Station.”
She told me that was brilliant. I don’t know about that but what I do know is when you do it, you start the day in a positive mindset which sets your day up for triumph. Negative things will happen throughout the day but what I learned, if you do this, they don’t stack and stacking is what gets people in a perilous place.
As we all learned during the pandemic, when people were isolated at home, they not only had COVID to deal with, they had the social justice issues that were highlighted, they had law enforcement questions and yes, a never ending election cycle which pitted brother vs sister, friend vs friend. Total uncertainty.
These things got stacked and sometimes to point where some people just checked out, emotionally or worse physically.
One of the ways you can bounce back and create opportunity out of uncertainty is to have your personal “Train Station.” A place every morning you can deposit the trash that enters your head or body, where no one would know where they lay and they would never come back, a deadzone.
A pathway to create your own flight plan is to visit your “Train Station” every day, start your day with gratitude and a positive mindset where the uncertainties in your life turn into opportunities to serve.