In less than a week, I will return to New Jersey to go back into the Hudson River to swim with the Navy Seals to raise money for those veterans who have fallen on hard times.
Yesterday, I started thinking about last year’s experience, the feelings, smells, tastes, views, and sounds from last year. (Yes, there are smells and tastes that I remember as that was the FIRST thing that reminded me of swimming in the Hudson River the first time on January 15, 2009).
I relived in my mind from the moment I boarded the bus to Liberty State Park, opening ceremonies to the swim as I was sitting in Church yesterday. It was an emotional experience. One thing that rang in my ears was when the top seal, Bill, yelled out, “strip down.” That was the moment when it all became real, and when you are down to the basics, you, your jammers, and your wingman, you had humility.
As I relived that moment, I started to think about other times in my life when I had to “tear off my clothes,” and then I had to humble myself when there was a bigger mission to be accomplished. Those were the moments when it was time to grow, time to give up the certainty I had in my life to “put on new clothes,” when I was at my bare self and had faith and confidence that I was prepared for this moment, I would not only survive but grow.
If you have heard me speak, when I got to shore in Weehawken, NJ, on January 15, 2009, the EMT stripped me down to my “skivvies.” When I got to Hackensack Palisades Medical Center, Nurse Bautista cut my skivvies off, and I was down to nothing. It was a humbling experience, but shortly after that moment, it was time to put on new clothes and I started to recover and grow.
I had shared in a few interviews that one of the biggest learnings I had from that experience was when I saw something that I judged very quickly when I didn’t have the entire backstory of the situation. I “tore off my clothes of being judgmental “when I realized this. That one learning, giving up being so judgmental, changed my entire life direction. I started to meet and help people and began to start to fulfill the promise I made to my mentor in 1997. I put on the clothing of humility with faith and began to grow in a way I would have never been able to.
I learned to grow and gain a new vision for my life; you must tear off your clothes that disempower you. You must self-realize the things that have held you back from obtaining what you truly were born to be. One of the ways I did that was by looking at what I learned from my time with Tony Robbins, the question that kept running in my head and changing it. Why does this always happen to me?
I have spoken to many people in the past decade that have gone through a traumatic life experience and asked them what they thought about after they survived. Many of these people said the same thing I used to say; this always happens to me.
I share what I learned from my experience. How I had to tear off the clothes from the past, my limiting patterns and thoughts, humble myself, and embed in my body a new empowering question. I had to have faith that if I did that, with each of these beliefs, such as being so judgmental, my life would change, and more importantly, I could impact and help others begin to create their own flight plan for their future.
So, when I go back into the Hudson River this coming Saturday when I hear the command “strip,” it will have a new meaning for me. I will be reminded that every time in my life when I had to tear off my clothes, a new and more empowering life was just around the corner. When I humble myself and have faith, my Creator gives me the mental and emotional strength to put a new set of clothes on. Grow from the uncertainty of being naked to the certainty that you are on the pathway to grow, live your mission, and live the life you were born to have.
Sometimes, you must go through that defining moment, to tear off your clothes of anger, slander, and judgment, and put on new clothes of humility, kindness, open-mindedness, and patience. Your life will grow, and you will start to create the flight plan you are destined to have.
On August 6th I go back into the Hudson River to swim with the US Navy SEALS to raise money for the GI Go Fund. These funds go to support those military veterans who have fallen on hard times. Thank you for supporting me in this philanthropic endeavor!
Treat the TURMOIL of 2021 as your year of preparation and 2022 as your year to TRIUMPH!
LEAD YOURSELF FIRST and CREATE YOUR FLIGHT PLAN FOR YOUR FUTURE!
Dave Sanderson is the President of his firm, Dave Sanderson Speaks International, based out of Charlotte, NC. 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 the most successful ditching in aviation history. He has built a career as a motivational speaker, mentor, and author. Recently named one of the top 100 Leadership Speakers in Inc.com.
Dave averages over 80 speeches a year for major corporations worldwide.