Preparing for your own “Miracle on the Hudson River”

If you’re a follower of mainstream news, you undoubtably watched and read about the recent event in New York where US Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing on the water. It was an incredible situation — described by some as one of the most extraordinary accidents in the history of aviation — where all crew and passengers survived.

What lessons can we take from this extreme episode?

Calling this a miracle does not give enough credit to the pilot and crew. This was purely a case of hundreds of hours of training, preparation, quick decision and ok, a bit of luck with a calm river with no water traffic on the makeshift landing strip.  When something this unexpected happens, you don’t have time to go through your usual pace of planning, analysis, identifying and evaluation options, decide to take action, and execute. Of course, all that did happen but in an extraordinarily short time frame given the size of the situation and the implications. While pilots understand their machines can fail, even the best of the best will tell you they never expect it will happen to them.

While investigators try to find out what went wrong, they are also looking at what went right. And so many are pointing to pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger III and how he controlled the situation. This is a fantastic reminder of how to overcome unexpected events that bring tremendous challenge to your life:

Manage your state. It is understandable that people can become overwhelmed with negative emotions when facing an extreme challenge such as a in-flight emergency….or a sudden illness, an unexpected financial challenge, or an unforeseen job loss. Yet progress and success come most rapidly from managing to turn or keep your state with empowering emotions and thoughts that give you focus, confidence and determination to make the right decisions. The greater the challenge, the greater the importance of managing your state.

Focus on what you can control. When a pilot’s equipment fails, his ‘mechanic controls’ can be eliminated or he’s left with limited tools of the aircraft. It would be unthinkable for the pilot to sit and complain about what’s not working or spend any time worrying about the problem. He must immediately turn to the solutions and use all his mental skills to remain calm, focused and determined. The most successful people tend to spend 5% of their time on the problem and 95% on the solution. Regardless of the tragedy or challenge in your life, your way out is to understand what you can control and turn those resources into the solution that you most desire. And with a bit of persistence, you will be successful.

Ask for help. While the pilot is truly the one to steer the plane, he needed total support from his crew and air traffic control. The result would have been totally different if Mr. Sullenberger tried to figure it out all himself or was ‘too embarrassed’ to seek help. His crew are additional resources to implement the solution and the air traffic control provides a different perspective to help guide him to success. Like in life, success comes from getting the right help at the right time. A life coach is an ideal partner providing a different perspective, additional resources and much needed encouragement to propel you out of a challenge and on to the landing strip you need to continue a happy, healthy and wise way forward.

Contact one of our Action Coaches today to find out how we can help you create miracles in your life.