About Dave Sanderson
Dave Sanderson is an inspirational survivor, speaker, and author. His thoughts on leadership have made him an internationally sought-out speaker. When US Airways Flight 1549, or “The Miracle on the Hudson,” ditched into the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, Dave Sanderson knew he was exactly where he was supposed to be. The last passenger off the back of the plane on that fateful day, he was largely responsible for the well-being and safety of others, risking his own life in frigid water to help other passengers off the plane. Despite the hazards to himself, Sanderson thought only of helping others and emerged from the wreckage with a mission: to encourage others to do the right thing. Today, he travels the globe sharing his inspirational and motivational leadership messages to help people make a difference in how they do business and live their lives.
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[content_toggle style=”1″ label=”Transcript” hide_label=”Hide”][00:00:01] Listen up speakers coaches consultants authors and anyone who has an idea and want to turn it into a business because you're in the right place at the right time. Welcome to recurring revenue radio where it's all about turn into serious cash flow. Here's your host Richard Zanzi.
[00:00:21] This is your chance with recurring revenue radio. And I've got an incredible guest today Dave Sanderson and Dave is the author of moments matter which is his story about being the last guy off of US Airways flight 15:14 on you might know it as the Miracle on the Hudson. Dave thanks so much for taking a few minutes to be with us today.
[00:00:41] Richard I I'm excited to be with you. Thank you for having me today.
[00:00:44] Hey I think everybody that's ever even thought about doing public speaking for live in has heard this one thing that people fear public speaking more than death. You might be the guy it's most qualified to say whether or not that's true because of your experience on this plane because very few of us have really faced a death situation like you faced.
[00:01:04] Well I appreciate that you always were always very fortunate that day. We had a great team. You know a great captain a great first officer. But know I've heard the same thing and I've talked to a lot of people who have fear of public speaking but sometimes you're driven to your path. And and that was the pathway that I we did not think I was going to do. I was head of security for money with Tony Robbins for many years and I saw him on stage and transforming people's lives but we never thought that I would do it. But when. Like General Schwarzkopf told me once when given the opportunity to lead lead you know an opportunity to speak speak. So I'm very honored to be able to do that.
[00:01:41] That is awesome and I really want to dive into this. The idea of moments matter because there's a lot of people that are listening to this right now and they're not going to get a definitive moment like you had on that plane. But right now may be their moment and this may be the moment that matters so let's let's rewind a little bit. Let's talk about the flight a little bit because I know everybody gets lessons is going to be thinking holy cow what the heck was going on and what was going through your mind when that was happening so just give us the I know it was a very short period of time right two two and a half minute flight. Well
[00:02:11] it was actually a total of six minutes from takeoff to landing or crashing into the Hudson River. Approximately six minutes.
[00:02:18] So what what's that like. You take off like you've probably done a thousand times. Where are you going. By the way.
[00:02:24] Well I was on a three day business trip I was in sales and in the distribution center working that day one of my clients in Brooklyn and we got done early we started the day about 5:00 in the morning because distribution centers opened to me so early in the morning but we start early so we got done at 10. So I always traditionally I would book the last flight out because you never know how the day is going to go. So when I got a chance to go home early That's what I did and when I called the travel agent and work with her she put me on five 15:14 And I think it was happened for a reason but nothing extraordinary about today Richard is 11 degrees and snowing. And you know we were a little delayed but you know nothing out there. Know you're in New York right. You're going to expect things like that. But you know after we went up until about 60 seconds up nothing extraordinary but all of a sudden you hear a loud explosion on the plane and you know you're in New York you think of a lot of things. And the first thing I thought you just blew an engine because I was in seat 15. On the left hand side and I looked out the window and I saw flames coming out from the left wing. So I knew something had happened but I fly oh excuse me over two times a year.
[00:03:32] I thought the plane lost an engine and I know planes have at least two engines cases or something like this so I just thought he was going back to the airport when I felt in banking I thought OK it's going back and I think I tell my audiences and friends and you know I think God's Grace entered for the first moment of flight because cannily no one on that plane knew probably except for him and Jeff Skiles the first officer that went up on the plane where I was sitting also on the right side of the plane and it happened simultaneously which I think that's that's the thing a lot of people. That's the untold story of the untold story that this thing would have happened. Boom boom then you thought OK we've got a real problem. But it happened. You heard one noise so everybody thought OK we've got another engine. And nobody panicked. I think that was part of this whole story doesn't get told a lot. Oh
[00:04:17] yeah. And so that happens the plane starts to go down. How much time between you when you hear that noise and the time the plane touches down the river.
[00:04:25] Yeah. So that time it was it was about 60 to 70 seconds after we took off is when the birds hit and it was approximately six minutes until we were in the water. So you're looking at somewhere between four and a half four to five minutes somewhere in that range. I don't think anybody knows exactly except for the you heard flight recorder which I have. So four to five minutes after the explosion when we were crashing into the water.
[00:04:49] So. So you get into the water. I'm sure that at that point there was panic. Correct.
[00:04:56] Well the term I use Richard is controlled chaos. We're people were moving fast and things were happening quickly. But no one was losing their heads so I don't think panic you know panic the notes to me when you lose your head and all of a sudden you don't know what to do. I think people immediately reacted I and they were not out of control though and that's one of I think the thing that needs to be really sure. Likewise when we know one reason one of the reasons this thing turned out the way it did is no one really lost their minds. Everybody was focused on the outcome and just getting out on the plane what's the plane got into the water.
[00:05:32] We're going to we're going to come back to that idea of controlled chaos in a minute because I feel if my business is I wouldn't call it panic but sometimes it feels like controlled chaos like we're on the front end of a rollercoaster we have no control over hey. So. So you fast forward a few minutes then people start to exit the plane. You're the last person off the plane correct.
[00:05:52] I was the last passenger Captain Sullenberger was the last person off the court. Right last pass this last passenger.
[00:05:57] And so it went well in one of the questions I want to ask for is in situations like that and in business whatever it is you really have three choices the right thing the wrong thing and nothing. Right so how do you in that moment how do you decide what the right thing is to do based on the situation you're in. And the fact that other people will be impacted by what you do.
[00:06:20] Well that's a very very good question and this is what I share is my game plan and this Richard was just get to the hour and get up and get out. I mean I didn't think of anything but that was my focus. But when I got to the aisle something happened at that second when I got there was like my time to go. I heard my mother who had passed away in 1997 talk in my head something she told me when I was a kid just popped in my head and was if you do the right thing God will take care of you and will think great things. I think Richard about my mother was is she would always give you a choice and she wanted you to make that decision based on your values set. And so hopefully I grew up the right way and hopefully she probably thought I hope I train him and in the right way so the right thing for me was to take care of other people first. And because I always grew up probably like you did like most everybody's listening is working together as a team or a part of boy or girl scouts in athletics we always were taking care of your fellow guy or gal and that's were that's why I went to the back of the plane because at that point I knew I was alive. But candidly I didn't know anybody in the back was really any help and there was one elderly lady that need a little prodding and once we all sort of got her moved a little bit.
[00:07:29] That's when I started making my way out of the plane and that's how I became the last passenger on the plane.
[00:07:35] That's incredible. Now some some people when they go through a traumatic experience like this they're going to they'll they'll have post-traumatic stress syndrome or they will say I'm never getting on a plane again. But you had a different experience right. You still travel for a living. Right you getting on planes Weekly.
[00:07:51] So I just got off the plane last night at 1:00 in the morning I travel a hundred times a year.
[00:07:56] Right. So how do you. So how did you interpret that situation and how do you interpret that so that it benefits you going forward instead of holding you back but you just love me into what my TED talk was about.
[00:08:07] Richard much. It's always about post-traumatic grows syndrome which is the counter opposite of PTSD and it's really how you grow from a traumatic life event instead of going to a depressed state like so many people have and I didn't even know that I was doing this until a R.P. magazine did in an interview with me and Haley I don't know why they wanted to interview me. I was not 50 year old nolde person I thought you know who's going to listen to me right. These guys have been through a lot more life experience than I have. But what happened was there was that professor to Professor going to North Dakota State and one at you and see Charlotte and we're doing a study on growth and they used me as sort of a guinea pig on how how did this guy grow from this experience for someone who people lost their jobs got depressed couldn't they get back on a plane and they were sort tracking the strategies that I was doing. Because what they had found out is that I had help the American Red Cross to that point we raised about eight million dollars because I I put a different meaning to it. And that's the difference. Well now when people go to a depressed state versus a gross state were two things one they put yourself in the proper state of mind or you know robs is proper state or how to manage your mind. And second the meaning you attach to something and the meaning I asked was it was a blessing to me.
[00:09:21] This is like a a you know an eye opening experience a new pathway for me were some people put it as why this happened to me you know and I lost my job and I lost my relationships and all of a sudden they had a negative meaning. So they went into a depressed state and that's how this whole thing started coming about was there meaning attached to it was not a negative meeting or someone of the people that was in negative meeting.
[00:09:43] Yeah that's incredible. In fact you know I have a Tony Robbins coach and one of the big things we always focus on is how do you go back into your past and grab stories and leverage those stories to push you forward. Because I think most of the time I know for me in particular I was bad about going back and grabbing stories and use those to keep me from going forward you know. So in your in your in your book in your bio you talk a lot about leadership. Talk about the relationship between leadership in moments that matter in moments that matter like this. How is that relevant to somebody that maybe they want to write their first book or maybe they're out there speaking for a living and they're trying to figure out how to go to the next level. They're offering some sort of expertise in the world but they really can't just put the throttle down to go in for. How do you how does leadership translate from this moment to the entrepreneurial moment.
[00:10:33] Oh I think so. That was one of the biggest shifts in my in my world since this happened. And one of the things I talk about is I explain. Have you seen the movie Sully. I actually illustrate this. The movie itself because people can actually see it and then I can actually show a picture from what happened that day to illustrate it. And one of the things is is on the right side the place is what can give you the picture depiction and tell you give you the answer that I would give on the right side of the plane that day that all of the crew went out the left side of the plane. So if you watched the movie itself you saw the crew going out the left side of the plane and the right side of the plane was totally passenger driven which means occasionally none of us had any training. Who trains for a plane crash who knows who reads the instructions who pays and stitch and write so all of a sudden the leaders had to step up and you know part of leading leading in a time of crisis is a you definitely have to manage your mind be you quickly source that the mission and you know and that's why I talk about mission focus leadership as I talked about you know great leaders are the ones you can actually set the mission and let and let the people with the best skill sets execute on that mission. Of course making tweaks as you go giving coaching as you go but Davers really cool story with me when I was escorted General Norman Schwarzkopf back in 1999.
[00:11:51] And I asked him a question and really gave me his answer on why they he thinks they won the war in Iraq so quickly is because you said because I had a mission and the mission was kicking Saddam out of Kuwait and I kept reminding my troops in the theater everyday of that and all of a sudden start thinking putting pieces together. That's what happened on the plane leaders all of a sudden stepped up who had no skill set. So sometimes in leadership you don't have to know all the skills you just know how to have to give people a mission have certainty because one of the things that Tony talked about and I I truly believe now and I really talk about a lot is people who have the most certainty in uncertain times. All of a sudden become the leader and that what I mean by that is you could be that could be the janitor and all of a sudden chaos is breaking loose. But you have certainly in that moment people are looking that you are the answers. And that's part of leadership likewise and that's what happened on the plane. Yeah. Totally uncertain situation going on. No one ever been in a plane crash an airplane before. But all of a sudden the person people and the persons who had the certainty of that moment to give direction and lead became the leaders on the plane that day. So it's it's really about giving certainty and studying the mission and that's where I would really be the answer I would give and I give them what I teach in my in my workshops about mission focused leadership.
[00:13:01] OK. So what I'm going to I'm going to change gears but I want to leverage what you just said to do it. So let's talk about your business and your life as it's different now than it was before that because you're in a completely different business now right. Most definitely. So let's talk about this mission minded leadership as it relates to Dave Sanderson in your business.
[00:13:22] So yes I was in sales for 30 years. I was a top producer in every company I was with you know so I had done it and I knew I could do it so I don't have certainty in that lifestyle I'm in. My wife had certainty in me so to make the change that we did which Tony talks about the six human needs and I'm going from a focus of certainty and knowing I'm going to do. I know I'm going to make this much money. You know I can control that. So a total life of uncertainty or variety. And my wife really wasn't up for that rich or she was. She liked that certain lifestyle you know and that's that was a really difficult thing. So it took us five years to make that transition. But when I went to that direction I had I had my mission I knew I was why I was doing it and I had the drive and then and that's what I really tell people is you know you're being outspent or you have to own it. You have to have the drive. You have to get up every day. This is not a job. This is my life. This is my mission and all of a sudden it's not a job and you'll do anything fulfill your mission and adding value to other people. What part of my mission. So that's what my wife sort of understood that and let me go off on this tangent which she thought was a tangent because all of a sudden we're making X number of dollars and now we're not.
[00:14:32] But she knew that I had certainty in my mission. She bought into it and now we're sort of in this thing together and really starting a business and as you know as anybody who's an entrepreneur you know there is a learning experience it's all the way through and I've had a ton of learning experiences and you know the one thing I could do Richard is is drive revenue you know and that's pretty much challenge most for most entrepreneurs is driving revenue. You know they can do all the other if they have the product they have them and they have their mission driving. I had the opposite problem. I didn't have any of the infrastructure and things you have to do to set a business up to handle the revenue. So I did a really backwards to most people I think. So I had to figure it out. And one thing I did is I went to the people who actually succeeded in doing you know starting a business or starting a speaking business in and sort of God in their minds on how they did things and it all of a sudden the biggest change I made this last year is I've got involved with a mastermind group of people who totally random industries who can give me candid feedback and they're not afraid to tell me if I'm doing right or better yet doing it wrong. So I can make course corrections very quickly. Now it's been the biggest change in helping me grow in this last year.
[00:15:46] What would you say. I ask people this question a lot. You know you're in your business what would you say your superpower is my super power is number one is I can't.
[00:15:57] When someone talks to me about speaking or doing a workshop or whatever they know that I have a conviction they know that I am congruity. So they have no problem with me. They know that I'm going to deliver for them. That is my greatest superpower I think. And that's the biggest challenge is getting in from the right people. So fortunately for me I've been able to you know the things I do I think really well and pat myself on the back is to figure out how to network you know optimally and effectively instead of just trying to ask for help. I know the Tony always did this thing with our security team Richard and it was great. It is when the questions we would always talk about is how many calls will it take you to get to somebody. And he was really big on that. So we would sit down sometimes and around just doing our talks and we'd ask how many callers would it take you to get to the president of the United States and everything. I can't get to the United States but if you start thinking about it you know you do this do this do this do this. I mean the president States probably in four calls I had if I had to my life was dependent on it. So that's that's you know it's part of the big leverage is I learned from a master on how to really open my mind and the big lesson I talk about now is resourcefulness.
[00:17:08] You know it's not about the resources that you don't have it's about what you do with the resources and being resourceful in that moment.
[00:17:15] That's incredible. So there's there's two things out of that I want to touch on and I start with your wife. So so let's talk because I had the very same experience my wife. I tell people she's been married to five different guys over the last 20 years and they're all me. So how do you how do. How do you. Cause there's a lot of people that are going to listen to this podcast and they're going to say I have something in my mind that I know that I'm capable of doing that I wanted to do that I'm passionate about doing I think I can make a living at it. How do I get the people around me on board. What would you say to that person as far as bringing people on that which is a huge part of leadership as influence is being able to influence especially the people that are closest to you. What would you say to that.
[00:17:55] I learned an extreme lesson in this and this is what helped me with my wife and I'll just go back. I'll go back 15 16 years 20 years maybe it was when I started going that personal development seminars and I come back sort of I think a different person. My wife's like yeah yeah yeah right yeah. You feel good now but you'll get back to reality. Well I didn't but I didn't bring her along. So therefore you know we have some some gap and chasm in that going on. So when I did this she probably thought the same thing until she start seeing the results and seeing people you know I was helping raise money. I was doing this I was doing that and all of a sudden she saw wow he is really good at what he's doing and he's never failed me yet. So I gave her I gave her references you know and I didn't I didn't force her I didn't even ask her. I just you know I didn't push the button until it was the fifth year anniversary of the plane crash and she called me in New York as I was doing a media tour there in front of the five year anniversary and she asked me if my company had called me that day. I said no and I asked her the same question goes maybe it's time for you to do this yourself. But she finally realized my company really I was a number. You know I was a producer. I was a number I was always good as my last sale. And she probably said you know what.
[00:19:09] Maybe you should do this. Maybe you should own this for once and all of a sudden that's the moment she bought in. It's like oh man. You know what is a number. I just you know and that's not the way to go through life. And that's what changed everything. She she had to see the results first. So I tell people give. Give your spouse give your significant other the references that give them certainty and once they have certainty they'll buy it. If they when they buy it now you have a partner who when times get tough times will get tough. We've all have what I call the personal plane crash right. Everybody's going to have something in their life that personal will be behind you and say OK you know what you pull it off before you can pull it off again and give me that impetus to go forward.
[00:19:52] Yeah I think you said a couple of things that are that are key. Number one is to be successful at whatever you're doing right now you're going to leverage that you know a lot of different ways and if you are successful especially in selling I tell people this all the time if you sell for a company you're good at it you're doing the hardest thing that gets done in that company you know so most people not every everybody is not wired to be an entrepreneur but selling is the hardest thing you're going to do when you start your business. And if you can sell everything else will find its place. Revenue trumps a lot of problems in a small business and what I heard you say is that you were successful now. I don't know if your wife is this way my wife I'm not about to do an interview with my wife about this whole transition. My wife is extremely risk averse. I mean that she does like things that change now when she gets there she usually loves it. But a lot of times we have to kind of go through this season where it's like oh my gosh is this going to work. And I've got to be able to reach back into the past and grab some success and say here's why I think this will work even when I'm even when I doubt it. You know I think sometimes portrayed that confidence. The other thing is prepare.
[00:20:55] I mean if you're if you're making the transition from your your gig where you've learned your subject matter expertise and you're going to write a book and start a speaking career I think it's important that you prepare for that financially to do that a lot of people want the easy button and just jump out and everything is going to be smooth sailing but you and I both know it's not like that.
[00:21:15] No it's not and you know I did that likewise and I've I've invested a lot of my personal funds in my savings to make this happen because there is there is a time period as any entrepreneur because Agur are you it's not you know you don't push a button and things happen you know so. So you got to prepare and one of the things I really talk of the fact that I was in yesterday I spoke in Wisconsin are a group of electrical co-op owners across from across the country and one thing that they really really cling on to is when someone says those who have the humility to prepare will have the confidence to execute when that moment comes. So you've got to humble yourself. You've got you know when you're when you think you know everything is when you know nothing and that's when they you know you want people to tell you when you're doing wrong or you when you're doing right. So have the humility to prepare financially mentally you know emotionally for failure because you're going to have it and reframe. You mentioned something earlier Richard which is spot on. It's how you referring these things the meaning more or is not failures is the opportunity to learn. I'll to practice my techniques.
[00:22:17] You've got to make that investment and I tell anybody who wants to get in the speaking business and I work with people now who want to start from scratch because they've seen me go from scratch and this rapidly is you know I took something when I heard from Zig Ziglar back in the mid-90s when I first saw him and he's talked about how he started his business. And he said the first hundred talks he gave he did it for free so he could practice this technique and perfect this performance and that's exactly what I did for the first 50 to 75. I don't know. Somewhere in that number I didn't take a dime for anything that I did. But I had a chance to practice and perfect my techniques and I'm always looking to improve of course you're always looking to improve but make that investment prepare. So when that stage comes when opportunity comes you're ready to walk on and that's exactly what happened to me and sets off this year. I thought you know if anybody does a TED talk I'm sure some people who are listening have you know you think a 60 minute keynote. You know you got it now you've got to do it in 18 minutes. You got be concise to the point. And if you don't practice I did a blog on this last week. You don't practice and prepare effectively. You will be a flop. So you've got it is all about preparation and being humble to do that preparation.
[00:23:28] It's about that in it and it's about balance and that also with taking some action and what I was hearing you say there is a get out and do it for free. And that's a man again that's the that's the payment that a lot of people don't want to make.
[00:23:42] You know and I don't I'm working with somebody who a friend in Texas who's a podcast or one of the most successful broadcasters in the country. And I did a podcast for him and we got off line and talked. He said I really want to be a speaker like you how do I do it. Not only is the exact thing where I just sat here and now he's going on all speaking at churches chamber of commerce around Texas and perfecting his performance so one day he'll be here pretty soon probably making making a revenue from that just because he's making that investment where he thought he could just go out and speak because he has a podcast. Hey I'm I guess I can talk. It's not that easy.
[00:24:14] Yeah. It's not it's not that easy. I went to a zig Ziglar training probably 10 or probably 15 years ago when I say 10 years that usually means 15 years ago I worked for John Maxwell and we would go around and meet with these guys and I remember walking out it's like a phone call and I sat down on the couch and I turned around and Zig Ziglar was sitting next to me. There was a session going on that somebody else was doing he was sitting there I had the best conversation with that guy. But the big takeaway I took from his time I mean is his events were exactly what you listen to on the tapes. I mean he had his his talks were down. You couldn't tell they were memorized but they were completely memorized ingrained. Hey Larry let me shift gears on you just a little bit. Let's talk about your future. Yeah like where you go and what's what's the future of your business what do you see yourself in three to five years. Talk about that a little. Where were things going for you.
[00:25:05] Well thanks because this is a year to me is a year of growth because I am really I just engaged a marketing firm branding firm to work with me to take me to a different perspective because you know I I've known is one thing but I do so many other things now. So I see myself excuse me the next three to five years and changing my business model. We're right about 80 percent of my revenue comes from from speaking and 20 some come from books and workshops and other things that I do more like 50 percent speaking but having you know different products that's because one of the things I talk about in my book and one of the keys lessons from that day on the Hudson and what I do all the time is this skill set of sensory acuity is being able to communicate it effectively in the modality the person you're talking to is an example I give my wife my wife a total auditory person and I'm a visual person so when I talk she doesn't get it and then when she talk for 35 minutes and I'm bored out my head. And then in one minute. Right. So understanding that skill set so are of my growth will be branching out my products that have an auditory Lauren that is you know visual line and a kinesthetic line so people can can connect with me at the most Daudi they reside in the most. In addition to doing more you know I've done a lot of articles on writing another book around from post-traumatic growth syndrome. And really what it takes to do that.
[00:26:25] So there's the growth of the next three to five years. I think you'll see a different a different type of setup. But you know I still want to be known as the last passenger off the plane to crash the Hudson River but there's so many different ways now I can impact people in doing that. So that's that's why I think we're going to go when we for sure finish our reef rebranding of Dave.
[00:26:44] That's awesome. Well hey Dave I really do appreciate you taking the time to be on with me. I know you mentioned several things that you're doing now. What's the best way for people that want to find out more about you or engaged with you what's the best way for them to do that.
[00:26:57] Well thank you Richard. I'm honored if anybody would love to contact me about anything. I have open pathways so you go to Dave Sanderson speaks dot com that way and you can contact me by auditory visual and even write me a note so there's a lot of ways to connect with me. But also I do a lot on Facebook and Dave you know Dave Sanderson speaks that's my my business space but linked in under David Sandersons is where I do all my business sort of perspective even my blogs and my lessons. But Twitter is where I go sort of get some insights daily insights that I give when I'm on the road and then that's Dave Sanderson too so there was a lot of ways to get in contact. But check me on the Web site and contact me there. I loved it contact you back in and we'll talk and have a talk and figure out how I could support the values that you're trying to accomplish.
[00:27:46] Super. Every bit of that information will be in the show notes below. Thanks again and I'll look forward to connecting with you. Thank you and take care.
[00:27:54] Thanks so much for listening to recurring revenue radio with Richard Jancee. You like this episode please review and subscribe. Find us online 24/7 recurring revenue radio Zakouma where it's all moved Hernanes what you know into serious cash flow. Catch you next time.
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