The Flight Plan by Dave Sanderson

One day I was escorting Tony Robbins at an event in Kona, Hawaii.  We were in the bowels of the venue walking and he was speaking with his creative assistants and I was a few steps behind him having a discussion with his personal assistant about some upcoming logistics that needed to happen.  One of the items on the list was he wanted to get his wife some flowers for their room later that evening.  As I asked his assistant what kind of flowers he wanted and the presentation of flowers required, Tony turned around and gave me his specific instructions on what he wanted.  I should have known he was listening as when I was his assistant director, the director, Gary, told me that Tony is aware of everything, even if you don’t think he is. The longer I was with and traveled with Tony and as he met other celebrities and/or dignitaries, they all had this one thing in common, they were totally aware of what was going on at all times.  It is a resource of those who get outstanding results compared to those who achieve excellent results.

I believe one of the key reasons we achieved the outcome of the Miracle on the Hudson was the keen awareness of not only Captain Sullenberger but a majority of the crew and passengers and why “awareness” will be a key topic in my upcoming book, “Moments Matter“.   In Luke 21:36, it is stated to “Stay awake at all times“.  That day, Captain Sullenberger had his flight plan and was not at the “wheel” when the birds struck the plane but immediately took command of the plane. He was aware that there was something going on.  He was measured what he said to make sure everyone was aware of there was something going on but not putting the passengers and crew in a crisis mindset.  At that moment is when I became aware of the situation and had to put myself in high awareness state.  One skill that I learned and practiced was the skill of sensory acuity, the ability to perceive minimal intensity and duration of sensation.  For me to be at my optimal awareness that day, I had to hone in on all my senses if I was going to have a chance to survive a plane crash. I developed my flight plan in the 60+ seconds I had once the Captain made his famous statement, “Brace for Impact”.  If the Captain could get the plane down to where I was still alive, I had to execute.  When the Captain got the plane in the river all my sensory acuity kicked in and awareness of what was going on around me, how others were reacting or not reacting, alternate pathways out of the plane, who needed help, hearing my mother speaking to me.  It’s amazing when you have a flight plan, your awareness goes up another level and you can achieve things you never thought you could achieve.

When I was in sales, one thing I prided myself on was my awareness and sensory acuity.  Management could never figure out how I was getting into the executive suite and building relationships while others struggled to get an appointment.  Why could a sales manager get to speak to a CEO of a large company when a VP couldn’t get through the assistant.   It all came down to the skill set of having a flight plan, being aware of what is important to other’s first and communicating in the way the other person communicated, visually, auditorily or kinesthetically.

Last week I had the opportunity to be interviewed with Kara Kelly from the Red Cross with Van and Bonnie on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa.  In the 10 minute interview, I gave some distinctions about the “Miracle” that I rarely get to speak about.  And when you listen closely to the interview here, you will hear an underlying theme of how awareness was one of the key resources I and others used that day to turn a tragedy to a Miracle and how if you can master that skill set, you too will start to turn your challenges into outstanding achievements! Until next time remember that all “Moments Matter”

For more information on Dave, click here.

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