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066: Lessons From The “Miracle On The Hudson” with Dave Sanderson

Many of you listening may remember January 15, 2009 when US Airways Flight 1549, or “The Miracle on the Hudson” ditched into the Hudson River. See, Dave not only survived that “crash” but he also started to realize that the moments that made up his life prepared him for what was about to happen.

The lessons and strategies that he learned throughout his journey were instrumental both that day and the days following. Dave started to realize that one can actually grow from traumatic life experiences and now he’s an author and internationally sought-after speaker who shares practical and implementable strategies that anyone can use to not only survive their “personal plane crash” moment, but to grow and thrive in its wake.


Places to Find Dave:

Dave’s Website:

Dave’s Podcast: Moments Matter

On Instagram @davesandersonspeaks

Facebook community: Dave Sanderson Speaks


Show Notes:

[3:00] minute: Tell me about your life and career before the Miracle on the Hudson?

  • 30-year sales career.
  • Head of security for Tony Robbins which served as a great education for him.
  • Family of four.

[4:00] minute: Tell me about the moments leading up to the crash? (The crash being the “Miracle on the Hudson”)

  • Dave retells the story of the crash and his perspective during it.

[7:00] minute: I know everyone survived, but were there any severe injuries at all?

  • A flight attendant had one severe cut, and a couple people got hypothermia.

[8:00] minute: Was it just mass panic after the crash or how did people react once water started coming in?

  • Water came in immediately.
  • Controlled chaos – no one losing their minds, but people were moving very fast.

[9:00] minute: You ended up being the last passenger to get off the plane, why was that?

  • Planned to be the first off as soon as he realized he was fine, but remembered his Mom telling him to do the right thing and he would be taken care of.
  • Went to back of plane to help people get out of water and get off the plane.

[12:00] minute: An experience like this brings some intense ptsd, what was the rest of that day like and the few days that followed?

  • Fortunately there was rescue personnel waiting for him to get him to the hospital and treat the hypothermia.
  • By himself in hospital and saw the news about the plane crash and that was when it hit him.

[13:30] minute: Did you have a feeling that this was going to lead to such a drastic change in the rest of your life?

  • Thought it would be life as normal, but the media attention right away was hard to process.
  • Had TV cameras come to his daughters high school basketball game just to follow him, and that made him realize what was about to happen to his life.
  • Was asked to speak at his church a few weekends after the crash.
  • A woman interrupted a conversation he was having to tell him he was living proof of miracles. That told him he had a bigger mission in life.

[17:00] minute: You said the moments in your life before the crash had prepared you for what happened that day and after, what do you mean by that?

  • Had known he wanted to do a book before the crash happened.
  • Experience from boys scout crossing a river with a backpack was one moment that certainly prepared him for different aspects of the crash.
  • While helping some neighborhood older ladies fix their tv he learned they were survivors of the holocaust. Learned that people who go through something horrific can survive and thrive, and what that could teach others.

[22:00] minute: It’s not just about getting an opportunity but being prepared to take advantage of it. Those moments that you think are struggles in your life are really just preparing you to take advantage of future opportunities.

[22:45] minute: What is the first step for someone who has been through something so traumatic and life-shattering to be able to move forward instead of being swallowed up by it?

  • First step he learned from Tony Robbins. Pattern he has seen in the success stories is to define the meaning you are having, become conscious of it, and figure out how to approach it.

[24:30] minute: What’s the next step?

  • Get in the right state of mind. Learn how to move your body, change your body movement and change your emotions.
  • Third is finding a virtual reference and interact with them or it.

[25:45] minute: A big part of this is learning from others experience, so what type of mentors have you had in life and has that played a big part in your life before and after the crash?

  • Mentors have been so important, both the known and the unknown.
  • First mentor was the “Sam Walton of Charlotte” who came in for ice cream every night while Dave was managing third shift at a restaurant.
  • Story of his Mom’s passing and the advice he got and changes it made.
  • When one mentor passes another comes into your life if you are looking.

[31:00] minute: These 12 notes, are they about money, growing a business, what’s the subject matter?

  • Each principle was described via financials, emotions, relationships, ect.
  • They came as a result of a life lived during the roaring 20’s and then the crash and what that had taught his mentor.
  • Taking personal responsibility is the first.

[32:25] minute: Dorothy gives an explanation of liability vs accountability.

[33:00] minute: How do you plan to teach these lessons to others? A mastermind, one-on-one coaching, speaking, what’s the method.

  • Teach one principle a month and teach a small group one on one.

[34:30] minute: For anyone who is just lit up right now and would want to be one of those 10 or so people, how would they get in touch with you or sign up?

[35:40] minute: Who has been the most impactful person in your journey to do well and achieve financial and career success?

  • Tony Robbins

[36:00] minute: Who has been the most impactful person feeding your drive to do good and have a positive impact?

  • Kate Wilkins, Senior Vice President of the Red Cross.
  • Gave him a different perspective on contribution.

[36:20] minute: Could you share a little more, how has she shifted it?

  • Kate was the face of Hurricane Katrina, she is world renowned for managing crisis of that level.

[37:00] minute: When you are having a bad day what do you do to get yourself out of the funk? Do you have any regular personal development practices?

  • Take a few minutes to pray for guidance and wisdom.
  • When you make it about you you can make it a bad day, when it is about other people it will be a good day.

[38:00] minute: Where can people find your book? And other than your own what book do you find yourself recommending the most?

  • The Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe.
  • It tells you the trends that will be coming up in business and relationships and life.
  • Find his book on amazon or via his website to get a personalized and autographed copy (

[39:00] minute:

  • True happiness comes from joy and joy comes from the value you give to other people.
  • You want to be happy, add value to someone else’s life.


Do Well & Do Good Challenge Nominee:

American Red Cross

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The American Red Cross, through its strong network of volunteers, donors and partners, is always there in times of need. We aspire to turn compassion into action so that…

…all people affected by disaster across the country and around the world receive care, shelter and hope;

…our communities are ready and prepared for disasters;

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Where to Find Dorothy:

Visit Do Well and Do Good’s free Facebook community here and arrange a one-on-one with Dorothy herself!

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About the author, Dorothy

Dorothy Illson is the founder of Needle's Eye Media, a full-service Facebook advertising agency. She's also the host of Do Well & Do Good, a podcast dedicated to telling the stories of people who have created financial success and leveraged it to increase their positive impact on the world.

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