One of the things my mentor did for me was occasionally, he would invite me to lunch at a place called Bill Spoons BBQ to sit and listen to him and some of his contemporaries talk about the issues of the day or challenges they were having. I would sit there and listen and eat my BBQ. Then he’d ask me to leave so they could discuss more personal things.
Those experiences helped me understand what was on the top of executives’ minds in their businesses and helped me understand how to approach and speak with them. And that was my secret sauce when I was in direct sales. I wasn’t afraid to contact and meet with executives.
When I mentor and coach my clients, I put together a similar experience for them. Every quarter, I host a dinner with someone of significance so my clients can learn from someone who is at the top of their industry they would never have the opportunity to meet. It not only expands their network but also, they learn critical issues.
Last week, my clients and I had our final dinner of 2023. We met with the CEO of a major technology firm, who shared her thoughts about where the economy is going in 2024 and some of her major challenges. This experience was priceless as our team now has a greater understanding of how we can serve our clients and anticipate how we need to go to market.
One of the lessons I share, when I speak, is about how casualness leads to casualties. This lesson was revealed to me a few years after my experience of the Miracle on the Hudson. It not only was one of the things that played out during that fateful day on the Hudson River but also is a lesson that if you understand and practice, will help create opportunity out of uncertainty.
I was invited to speak at NASA’s safety day at Cape Kennedy a few years ago. For a kid who grew up in the 1960s, space was the coolest thing going, and like most kids, I wanted to be an astronaut. I have written about the time I had the experience of meeting Senator John Glenn when I was in high school. Meeting the first man to orbit the earth was one of the highlights of my youth.
When I was invited to speak at Cape Kennedy, we were discussing arrangements. The financial side was important but what was more important was the opportunity to experience the behind-the-scenes of NASA. My wife and I got to go to the top of the area where the Artemis II Orion ( the spacecraft that will send four astronauts to the moon) was being built. FYI, it is as tall as the Saturn 5 rocket, and when you look down, you get dizzy!
But that was not the experience that opened my eyes. It was when my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the room of the remains of the space shuttle Columbia.
This is a sacred place. Meeting with the person who is responsible for maintaining the room is special. When we met, he was more interested in speaking about my experience of when US Airways went down in the Hudson. I was more interested in hearing about what happened that fateful day Columbia went down.
One thing he shared was something that woke me up to not only what happened on January 15, 2009 but also the day to day of our lives.
He shared his thoughts about Apollo 1; where on Jan. 27, 1967, a fire swept through the Apollo 1 Command Module during a launch rehearsal test, tragically killing the three astronauts trapped inside.
He shared that Apollo 1, as tragic as that day was, helped reset the mindset of going to the moon as those casualties were caused by casualness. He said, “casualness leads to casualties.”
I started to think about that statement in my life and that day on the Hudson River. If the Captain and First Officer were casual about anything that day, some if not all of us in the plane that day may not be here today. If the passengers didn’t work as a team, somebody may have perished. If the NY Waterways and other first responders were not at the top of their game, some of us may not be here today.
You can also look at this from a personal perspective. If you are casual with your money, you may lose it. If you are casual about how you take care of your body, you may be more susceptible to health challenges. If you are casual about your relationships, you may lose your loved one.
So that timely and important lesson was learned because of something I learned many years ago and I practice and teach.
Experiences are more important than money.
I learned years ago that I know much more from unique experiences I encounter than the short-term monetary wins I may have.
Even January 15, 2009, was an experience that, at the moment, was potentially tragic, turned out to be an experience that revealed what I had learned in those moments in my life that, at the time, I didn’t think were necessary. That is why we wrote my first book, Moments Matter. I wanted others to understand that those experiences we encounter through our lives, good and bad, are there for a reason and a purpose, and they will serve us someplace, sometime through our lives.
That is why I am so excited about sharing my new book, The Limitless Life, on January 15, 2024. It is a way I can share fifteen lessons learned from and because of the Miracle on the Hudson and impart how those experiences and moments we have had throughout our lives were there for those defining moments of our lives. And from those defining moments, greater insight and wisdom are drawn which will set you on a pathway for a life of happiness and fulfillment.
And a pathway to having a limitless life is to use those insights and wisdom to impact and help the next generations have hope and knowledge.
You can create opportunity out of uncertainty by finding someone who will impart and leave what they have learned and their wisdom so you can compress the decades it usually takes to do it yourself into days, have happiness and fulfillment right now, and subsequently do the same for someone else.
Ask yourself, if in three years from today, and you would look back at those three years to today, what would have to happen for your life to be fulfilled?
And if you could do that right now, is that experience worth more than money?