When you close your eyes

One thing I have never shared in public was what was going on shortly after the Miracle on the Hudson.

I was getting inundated with requests while trying to help my family deal with what was going on and by the way, going back to work the following week, flying to meetings all over the country. My goal was to make sure I could serve everyone who approached me.

As I was trying to manage all of this, when I closed my eyes at bedtime, I was reliving what transpired during time leading up to boarding US Airways 1549, on the plane as things started to happen, the rescue, what happened that evening and when I got home. I was waking up a number of times every night and there were moments when I would sit straight up and have to make sure I was not on the plane. I don’t think I had nightmares but it wasn’t pixey dust and sunshine either. About a month after the Miracle, those kind of dreams subsided but occasionally, I would get a random dream that would awaken me.

When the movie, “Sully” came out, the local theater was kind to open up one of their theaters so my family and friends could watch it together. I thought I was prepared to watch it. My wife was on my left side, my daughter’s mentor, Cathy, was on my right and our minister was two seats over on my left. When the opening scene flashed on the big screen, the excitement I had suddenly turned to those nights immediately after the crash.

I had a similar dream to the opening scene as during one of those dreams, I remember looking out the window and thinking this plane is going straight into Manhattan. Immediately, I got emotional and from that point on as we watched the movie, I was struggling not to let it show as I didn’t want my kids to see me in that way as I didn’t want them to have any fear of flying. When I saw the plane in the water, I got emotional again as it reignited in my mind what I went through as I made the decisions I did after I learned I didn’t die during the landing.

But one thing I have learned is one way to turn whatever tumoil you may have into a triumph is to find references of those who have overcome their fear and triumphed.

One thing I did was watch some interviews of people who overcame their challenges. One of those people was Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX.

As I watched her interview, I learned she was a sales person, just like me. She had a dream to become a entrepreneur, just like me. She found a niche that wasn’t being served, she did her own marketing as she had what Napolean Hill wrote, a definitness of purpose and a massive desire. She believes that cultural fit trumps talent. She had a support system and she started to share her story and always remembered her “why.”

I identified with her and her story. It began when she closed her eyes and dreamed about her WHY.

After I saw this interview over and over, I took copious notes and before I went to bed, closed my eyes and started to think about my purpose and why I survived. I started to see my mission in my dreams instead of reliving what happened on January 15, 2009. I started to build my external support system in addition to my family and looked for the cultural fit who’s for my how’s. I accelerated sharing my story from a number of different perspectives and I pulled out those notes I received from Bill to reinforce my WHY.

When I was interviewed for AARP magazine about how I grew from a traumatic life event while others didn’t, I shared the strategies and tactics I employed but I haven’t until this day, shared the real strategy.

The way I started to grow use what happened to me during and after the Miracle on the Hudson was I modeled someone who when she closed her eyes, kept dreaming of what was possible instead of what happened in her past.

When you experience a traumatic event in your life or are involved in something that negatively impacts you, find someone who has faced a challenging time, study them, do exactly what they did and before you close your eyes, think about your WHY and WHAT is possible and turn your dreams into action and you too will be able to create your own flight plan for your future and always remember that

All the MOMENTS in your life MATTER!