Yesterday was the first time I have spoken in the pulpit since COVID. Before COVID, I was honored to speak in a pulpit about once every quarter. Most of these opportunities were delivered to multiple religions in different cities, so I was able to use a talk I had developed over and over.
I greatly respect Pastors, Priests, and Rabbis as they write a new talk every week.
Last week, I wrote and delivered a new talk for this past Sunday’s service. Since day one of my speaking, I have lived by what Tony Robbins recommended to me shortly after the Miracle on the Hudson: always speak from the heart and take no notes onstage.
As I wrote this new talk, I looked back through all the notes, blogs, and journals I had to get inspiration. I thought about what was going on in the world and the uncertainties that we all have. I was ready to go.
As I was driving to Asheville, North Carolina, to deliver my new talk, I listened to the news about the devastation in Israel. I was listening intently as I am scheduled to go to Israel in February and meet with some business leaders. I was moved when I thought about my friends and those going through this.
When I arrived in Asheville, I quickly updated my talk. Not to include anything about what is directly happening in Israel but to share some insights into turmoil and disappointment and a pathway to bounce back from a devasting time.
In between and after the final service, several people approached me to share their stories and what they got out of my new talk. One lady told me she wasn’t going to attend but something led her there. She told me her mother had recently passed away and last weekend she went to New York City and laid her mother’s ashes in the Hudson River at the Statue of Liberty.
She was very emotional and thanked me, not for what happened on January 15, 2009 ,but when I went back into the Hudson River to swim with the Navy Seals. At first, I was curious why but she told me through that story, facing the turmoil and showing gratitude for it, that she was cured from her disappointment of losing her mother.
Another lady who approached me was a nurse at a hospital in Washington, DC, on 9/11. When the plane hit the Pentagon, she was on call and went to the emergency room to help. When she arrived there were a few critical situations that their staff responded to. She told me as I was speaking, she was reliving that day and getting emotional.
I told her I relive something from 1/15/09 daily, and sometimes I get emotional about those thoughts. I told her that one thing that helps me when I get those emotional moments is to remember my faith and that God lives in the gain in our lives, not the gap. I shared in my new talk about a moment in the Hudson River, about 500 meters from New York City when I looked to my left and saw where US Airways 1549 crashed landed in the Hudson River
I told her that at that moment, in the Hudson River, I got extremely emotional as I relived those fateful moments. And the way I got through it was to tell my wingman, Suzanne, that I loved her and had massive gratitude for being able to say that.
And I realized that the water saved me once, and the water will save me again.
When I got to my car to leave, a lady was waiting for me. She was young, had moved to Asheville from North Dakota, and has four kids. That was the way she began our conversation as she heard I have four children.
As we spoke, she shared some of her story and how she was going through some frustrating times. As I listened, I gleaned that she was struggling with unfulfilled dreams and wanted to know how I bounced back and found my mission.
I told her it wasn’t as easy as the next day; everything was good, and my mission was revealed to me. It took some time but I went back and started to read to some of the books that helped me in my business life. And the one that woke me up was “Think and Grow Rich”,by Napolean Hill.
It wasn’t the idea of thinking and growing rich that helped me but the reminder that having faith turns wishes into beliefs. I incorporated that by employing so much leverage in my head and body that I had a bigger mission. I had so much certainty in my beliefs that it was going to happen, and the only question was when.
We shook hands, and I was about to leave, I told her a trait of a winner is winners have a done list, not a do list. Resolve that your dreams are already there; they are just waiting to be revealed.
We all have dreams, have gone through tumultuous times, or lost a loved one. All can be devasting, but a pathway to create opportunity out of these uncertain situations is to employ your faith actively, ” the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen.” Strength and growth come only through massive action and challenges.
Create your own flight plan by remembering that Grace is fueled by Gratitude and the more gratitude you give, the more grace you get, and the more grace you get will be your flight plan to live a happy and fulfilling life.