Getting back on the Plane

One of the things I speak and coach people about is the first thing I learned from my discussions with Bill and reinforced when I attended my first Jim Rohn seminar. If you are going to grow, you have to make a commitment to invest in your own personal development.

This week, I had my final session of the year in my personal development investment in Toronto. I have been stretched this year in my development. Being in the proximity of twenty-eight entrepreneurs, some of which are multi-millionaires, has been enlightening. One thing you learn though is each one of these entrepreneurs has something they need to work on to grow and have the impact they desire to have in their personal or business life.

In this session, we discussed the building blocks of how to grow your business 10x. As we got into the content, it reminded me of what I learned from Tony Robbins and share in my Mission-Focused Leadership workshop about growth. Where does growth start?

When the leader asked our opinion on where growth starts, I gave her my perspective. It opened up a discussion with the group but during the break, I had a couple of the participants ask me a question that I have been asked many times and I shared a couple of stories I hadn’t shared before about growth.

The question was “how did I get back on a plane after the Miracle on the Hudson?”

That is the most often asked question I get, even almost fourteen years later. But over the years, and especially after the pandemic, that question has become a metaphor about how to bounce back. What I am finding is people are looking for strategies on how to rebound or bounce back from their personal or business challenges. How to get back on their “plane.” I shared this.

In high school, we were getting ready to play our last football game of the year. It is abnormal in northwest Virginia to get really cold weather in November but this Friday night, it was extremely cold, frigid. My mother gave me some extra long sleeve tee shirts to wear under my pads. All day long, some of the team discussed how cold it was and what the playing conditions may be that evening. One of our teachers heard us talking and shared this.

When he was young, he grew up on a farm. (As my friend Cheryl Halbert shared in her post this week, “on a farm, cows don’t know it’s Christmas.” ) He had to work the barn with his siblings and it was cold. As the kids were working, they kept complaining about how cold it was and had to keep taking breaks to warm up but their father kept working. He said he asked his father, wasn’t he cold ? And his father told him,

“You are focused on staying warm, I’m focused on getting the crops ready for the market.”

I told my friends that is one of the reasons I got back on a plane the following week to Michigan to go to a business meeting when I should have stayed home. Most people were focused on the plane crash, I was focused on supporting my client.

And that was the mindset I had shortly after the Miracle on the Hudson and I carried forward. The pathway I use to grow in challenging times is to have certainty or confidence that I am not the first person who has faced this in history and the playbook already exsist on how to bounce back and grow. Most people focus on staying warm. I just need to stay focused on my mission ” getting the crops to the market” instead of the incident and find the “who” had done it before and follow their playbook to triumph.

I followed up with this. One thing I have learned through my life is motion doesn’t get you the outcome you desire, action does.

Many people who contact me want me to share the “short cuts” I have learned and employed to help them move from the turmoil they are suffering. When I have done this in the past, eight out of ten people I share my strategies with never take action. They have motion but they don’t take the actions necessary as it seems too cumbersome or intense.

When I was approached by my wingman, Suzanne, to go back into the Hudson River to swim with the Navy Seals, I didn’t know the HOW but I had the confidence or certainty that it could be done as I watched video of people doing it. That was the moment I resolved or committed that I would do the swim.

So during this discussion in Toronto about where growth starts, I shared unless you are Roger Bannister and going for breaking the 4 minute mile for the first time, my belief is growth starts with the knowledge that the mission had been done before and having the confidence it can be done again.

If I thought about how tough the swim across the Hudson River was going to be or that is the place that almost took my life, I would have never done it. I wasn’t focused on “staying warm.” I was focused on “getting the crops to market.”

Right now, many people are working on how to grow and bounce back after the pandemic. Start focusing and having clarity on the mission at hand. Stop being in motion and take action, whatever it may be and have confidence that what you are trying to accomplish has been accomplished before. Somebody has already written the playbook, you just need to find the author, a mentor or coach, that has walked their talk and will guide you to the finish line.

Have a LIMITLESS mindset, be bold and daring in your mission and be guided by your principles and a mission bigger than yourself. You will grow and endure whatever comes your way!

Dave Sanderson is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, philanthropist, and survivor of the Miracle on the Hudson. For more than four decades, he has been a top producer for some of the largest sales teams in the world. More than 250000 people have enjoyed his business and personal leadership events’ warmth, humor, and inspirational message.

He shows how to “turn your stress into your DISTINCT ADVANTAGE. ®”

On January 15, 2009, Dave was one of the last passengers off the plane that crashed into the Hudson River, best known as The Miracle on the Hudson, considered to be the most successful ditching in aviation history.

He is an author and contributing author of three internationally bestselling books, including Moments Matter, Brace for Impact, 1 Habit for Success: SmartFem Summit Special Edition, and his latest book, From Turmoil to Triumph.

 After thirty-five years in sales and sales leadership with roles in companies such as ADP, Peoplesoft, KPMG, and Oracle, Dave founded his executive coaching and personal leadership firm Dave Sanderson Speaks International, on January 15, 2014. As a sought-after international speaker, he works with established and emerging leaders and entrepreneurs to help them find their DISTINCT ADVANTAGE, aligning with their passion and purpose by employing their leadership skills and igniting their performance through focused execution, resourcefulness, and gratitude.

In addition to his 35 years in sales and sales leadership, he was the Director of Security for Tony Robbins for over ten years and was recently named one of the top 100 Leadership Speakers in

Dave has spoken at countless fundraisers that have raised over $14.7M for the American Red Cross.

He is passionate about raising money for the GIGO Fund, supporting those veterans who have fallen on hard times by going back into the Hudson River and swimming with the elite Navy Seals.