Six Questions Answered In A Period Of Six Minutes

One of the greatest benefits of speaking onstage is you have the opportunity to meet leaders from different industries and backgrounds.

Over the past six weeks, I have had the honor to meet and speak with leaders from the military, business, aviation, athletics, and one who is running for President of the United States. Each has been enlightening, and I have learned some distinctions from each. Each is dealing with issues that impact their constituencies on a macro and micro level.

What has humbled me is they asked me questions. The questions mostly centered around what I did to have a mindset of resiliency and bounce back from the uncertainty of going through a plane crash. It always amazes and honors me that it’s been almost fifteen years since the Miracle on the Hudson, and people are still fascinated about what happened that day and after.

One of these leaders used the analogy that the world is spiraling out of control, just like a plane that is going down. This one hit home with me, and before I responded, I had to take a deep breath.

One of the things I learned and did, and the crew and most of the passengers did on January 15, 2009, was employ the mindset of discernment.

Early in my business career, I learned that my thoughts come from my environment. And often, my environment was surrounded by people who centered their lives around the need for significance. And I was not immune to this thinking, as my need for connection was influenced by my environment.

One of the lessons I learned from my mentor Bill was for me to be successful, I needed to put myself in conditions to succeed so that I could have the discernment to be able to perceive and understand what was going on around me with a clear mind.

That day on the Hudson River, discernment was a key skill I used. When your life is spiraling out of control, and things are not obvious or straightforward, if you cannot discern what is going on around you, your environment will.

You must control your personal environment.

The past few years have been nothing but uncertain: COVID-19, social justice, law enforcement questions, elections that won’t end, and recently, terrorist groups threatening sovereign nations. Right now, the world is going through a fight for good versus evil, the need to be right versus doing the right thing, and the environment is significantly influencing people’s behaviors.

What I shared with this one leader is now is the time to stand up and employ discernment for her company, her family, and herself. Be clear with the mission, and as I learned from General Norman Schwarzkopf, every day remind her leadership of the mission, do the right thing instead of needing to be right.

One of the things I do every morning before I begin my business day is to ask myself six questions so I am able to aviate my day, navigate my day, and communicate through the day in a positive mindset.

These six questions were asked of me over 25 years in different ways.  But on January 15, 2009, these six questions were answered in a period of six minutes.  As you employ discernment in your business and life, these six questions will help you stay in congruence with your mission. 

I ask these six questions in my personal and business endeavors to stay congruent with my mission.  

  1. Am I where I am supposed to be?
  2. Am I prepared?
  3. Is it OK to ask for help?
  4. Am I a leader?
  5. Did I listen to what my parents, mentors, coaches, and significant people taught me?
  6. What should I do right now to do the right thing?

The world is spiraling out of control and going through an “environmental plane crash.” As leaders, it’s incumbent on us to bring discernment to our business and personal situations and be role models for our teams.

Through discernment, and as I learned recently from a Captain, you need to

Keep altitude (your personal plane as high as possible to buy time to assess risks).

Keep airspeed ( get and sustain momentum).

Get an idea ( get creative and resourceful)

And you will be able to create opportunity out of your uncertainty and then

You will create your own flight plan for your business and life.