The Wrong Question

Featured Article from August 17, 2011 – Launch Newsletter

The Wrong Question

One of my heroes is Captain “Sully” Sullenberger. “Sully” is famous for safely landing his disabled jet on the Hudson River on an icy day in January, 2009.  The event is affectionately known as “Miracle on the Hudson” but I like to give “Sully” some of the credit in this “miracle.”

A few weeks ago, I shared questions “1” and “5” from my speech, “The Five Right Questions to Supercharge Your Life and Business.” In my speech, I reference “Sully’s” heroics when I introduce question one, “What are my options?”  I get the feeling “Sully” might have asked himself this question intuitively when he lost the power to his engines on that fateful day.

Tapping our intuition and considering all options allows us to find answers that don’t seem reasonable but, are indeed options.  I can imagine some of the options “Sully” played out included turning back, getting to the nearest airport, freaking out… Instead he chose the “Road Less” travelled and landed on the river.  Have you ever faced a challenge that felt like landing a jet on a river?

Of course hindsight is 20/20 and we know “Sully” made the right decision; but I also know “Sully” made some other right choices along the way.  Society has trained many of us to focus on our weaknesses.  I am almost 100% certain “Sully” did not make this mistake in 2009.  I can’t even imagine the outcome if “Sully” asked himself what I call, “The Wrong Question.”

“In what areas do I need to improve my skills as a pilot (insert your job here)?”

Once again, I cannot confirm; but, I think “Sully” intuitively used the second question from my speech “The 5 Right Questions.”  That question being, “What are my strengths?” Instead of the really bad question society has trained us to answer, “What are my weaknesses?” Seriously, if “Sully” had focused on his weaknesses, we might be referencing that day with a different name, something like “Tragedy on the Hudson.”

The real tragedy is that every day in almost every home, office and/or school around the world people are making this huge mistake. In the moment of truth when faced with a major project or tragedy, people are focusing on their weaknesses, when instead they should be channeling their inner “Sully” and focusing on their strengths.

Question #2

What are your strengths?

I challenge you to take at least 30 minutes and write down all of your strengths.  This is not a time to be shy.  Think about your education, your job, your hobbies and your accomplishments — carry these strengths with you wherever you go.

Resources to Identify Your Strengths:

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