The Lesson of the Red Sea

Last week I was on a call with spiritual leaders from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths. I was honored to be included in this esteemed group. The call was set up to discuss ideas and thoughts on fostering positive change for the millennial and Gen Z generations in different cultures.

As I listened to the conversation, I realized that each group suffered significantly, primarily because of the uncertainty in the world. Like the rest of society, they had their first encounter with a mass pandemic and questions about social justice, political divisiveness, and law enforcement.

And there was less judgment about their faith backgrounds which I believe was a favorable basis to initiate discussion.

When it was my time to share, I started with where I was on 9/11/01 and encountered. That day I was on the Big Island of Hawaii, serving as assistant head of security for Tony Robbins. We had just completed the previous day’s seminar at about 1:00 am PDT and got to bed.

I left my TV on as I fell asleep and was awakened at about 3:00 am PDT with the news of what happened in New York City. I quickly gathered with the rest of the leadership team to notify Tony and gather our thoughts.

The rest of the day, we had people from every walk of life, from all over the earth, and with completely different religious backgrounds, and the energy of intensity was indescribable. Tony handled the day masterfully bringing commonality to the entire 2000+ people in the room.

Then I shared my experience in New York City on January 15, 2009, where we had people from every walk of life, from all over the earth, and with completely different religious backgrounds on the plane and rescue. I described how 155 people, with very little in common, came together with a shared vision, “No One Dies Today,” and the rest is history.

I spoke about the learnings I had from that day in Hawaii and used it during the crash and rescue. I then shared the story about Moses and the Red Sea.

When it looked like everything the Hebrews had worked for, freedom, was happening, suddenly, the Pharaoh, the Egyptian army, and adversity were coming after them. They were blocked from exiting as the Hebrews were encamped at the Red Sea. But in a history-changing moment, the Red Sea was parted, and the Hebrews’ vision of getting to the promised land was in front of them. All they had to do was have faith and not judge what they believed and take massive action.

I wrapped up my talk by telling the group that I believe we have more in common than not and that we need to learn from history. There are lessons on how to find opportunity out of uncertainty, and there were clues from each on how to persevere, grow, and align.

  • Know the Vision– Understand why you are doing what you are doing. Know that with perseverance, you will get to the other side, from the plane’s door to the rescue boat or through the Sea to the promised land.
  • Be less judgmental– This was the biggest lesson from the Miracle on the Hudson, where we had people from every walk of life, from all over the earth, and with completely different religious backgrounds and everyone set any differences aside for the common Vision.
  • Take Massive Action– You will only change if you have to do something. Many people get stifled and don’t do anything, fearing they will make a mistake. As I learned while helping lead Tony’s famous firewalks, if you take the first step, you will have momentum and will take the following steps!
  • It all starts with Faith– In this group, we had people of all different faiths represented but we all had one thing in common. We all believed that there is no god but God and if we sustain our faith through adversity, anything is possible.

A part of leadership is to bring varying viewpoints together to attain a common vision. Make sure your team understands the vision for the company, division, and team. Reinforce that team members will not be judged for expressing their thoughts or opinions. Put a massive action plan in place for the week, month and quarter and show by example your faith in your team to show that they can accomplish anything when they have too have faith.

Finding opportunities out of uncertainty starts by knowing you are not the first that has ever gone through adversity and uncertainty. Invest in your personal development by reading and listening to books and meeting with people who have faced their crises, and learning the strategies for how they overcame them.

And you, too will be able to create your own flight plan for your future, finding opportunity out of uncertainty and becoming the leader you were born to be.