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The Champion Forum Podcast

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Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher. In this week’s episode, Miracle on the Hudson survivor David Sanderson describes what it was like to be in the plane that crash-landed on the Hudson River. After he shares his experience, Dave and Jeff talk about the leadership principles that applied in that situation and explain how champions prepare for adversity and thrive in challenging situations.

What did Captain Sullenberger do well?

Captain Sullenberger said the most he could with the fewest words. Right now, everyone has their own personal planes to keep up, and we all have to operate like captains. You have to 1) focus on how you are going to keep your personal plane in the air. 2) Execute your plan using your resources. It’s not about what you don’t have, it’s about how resourceful you are with what you do have. 3) Communicate clearly, calmly and succinctly.

Q: What do you think it means to keep your plane in the air? What are you currently doing to do so? Why is it more important to focus on your own plane and not other people’s planes?

Why do leaders need to be humble?

The greatest leaders are the ones who can humble themselves and allow others to lead. When you are in an adverse situation, you need to be willing to allow other people to take the lead when they have the skill set to succeed and you do not. To adapt, you have to have humility.

Everybody will have some kind of hardship in their life. How well you get through it depends on your personal leadership.

What is PTGS?

Post Traumatic Growth Syndrome is what happens when people who go through traumatic situations grow and develop themselves. This is significantly less common than PTSD or other negative conditions that often come out of stressful situations.

Q: Have you ever been in a difficult or traumatic situation? Do you feel like you grew during it? Why or why not?

How can someone grow through a traumatic life experience?

This time in our lives is a reference that you will be able to call upon the next time you face a challenge. If you survived this, you can get through the next trial. Focus on how you grew, not what happened to you. Reframe your meaning so that you are looking at the positives of your situation and not the negatives. Change your perspective so that you can see every situation as an opportunity.

Q: How could you change your perspective so that you can grow through your current adversity? What opportunities are there in your situation that were not there before?

What does it mean to be a champion?

Being a champion means leading yourself well using the skill sets that you have. It’s not about what you have, but how you deploy what you do have.

Application Activities:

1. In the beginning of the episode, Dave shares his experience on Flight 1549. Describe a time in your life where you went through something traumatic. Looking back, what did you do well in that situation? Write down at least three areas where you feel like you responded well and use them to encourage you during the next difficulty you face.

2. How humble would you say that you are on a scale of 1-10? Ask a few trusted mentors, friends, and advisors for their opinions as well. If you find this question difficult to answer, ask yourself these questions:

  1. If I don’t know the answer, how easy is it for me to ask for help?

  2. If I don’t know the answer, how easy is it for me to delegate the task to someone who is more equipped?

  3. If I do know the answer, how do I respond when other people present challenging viewpoints?

After you answer these questions, put a timer on your phone for a day 2 months from now and revisit your answers. Hopefully, by then you will see an improvement in your humility!

3. If you are not currently in a season of adversity, what are you doing to prepare for the next difficult challenge? Make a list of the things you are doing personally, the things you are doing professionally, and the ways you are helping your team members prepare as well. If you find it difficult to put more than three items under each category, find a course, book, or podcast that you can use to grow yourself or others. Keep this list in front of you and when you finish a task, replace it with a new one. Remember that how you prepare determines how you will perform under pressure.

Connect with David Sanderson

LinkedIn - Dave Sanderson


Connect with Jeff

Instagram: @thechampionforum

Facebook: The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher



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