I love keynote speakers. I’ve heard some great stories and been taken on some amazing journeys with them. One of my favorites was Denny Fitch and his story and message was amazing.
You see, Captain Fitch (and the rest of the flight crew of United Flight 232) hold the record for the most time aloft without flight controls. He was one of the pilots of United Airlines Flight 232 was a DC-10, that crash-landed at Sioux City, Iowa in July 19, 1989 after suffering catastrophic failure of its tail-mounted engine, which led to the loss of all flight controls. The iconic picture of the plane actually attempting to land at the airport, but instead cartwheeling across the Iowa cornfields may seem familiar to you.
Watching the video above, it may be impossible to believe that 185 people survived that crash. The only way they could maneuver the plane was using the thrust of the one good engine. They had no steering whatsoever. It is truly a miracle and triumph of will that anyone survived that crash. Listening to Captain Fitch describe the ordeal, one sentence stuck out in my mind. He said pilots are taught that in a cockpit crisis “attitude affects altitude”. In other words, the more upbeat and optimistic your attitude, the more likely you (and your passengers and crew) are to survive. That line has always stayed with me.
Our practices aren’t always what we want. Our teams aren’t always performing the way we expect. Patients don’t always do what we ask them to do. The phone may to be ringing with new patients the way we hoped. The schedule may be over (or worse, under) booked. That piece of technology may not be working the way we want. In other words, we may not be “living the dream” at every moment of the day while practicing.
While we don’t have control of a lot of what happens to us, like Captain Fitch, we DO have complete control over how we will act. I choose a positive mental attitude, but even I can slip into the doldrums every now and then.
Early in the month, I went and visited the practice of a friend. I used to think I had a positive attitude at work and that I acted pretty weird and funny around my patients until I saw him. He was bouncing off the walls with happy energy and a positive outlook and when I heard him actually singing AT (note, I didn’t say “to”) his patients I really knew I was watching the right practice. I came back even more energized and implemented even greater ideas and an even more positive attitude. I’m not saying it’s just about attitude, but I just had my best month ever…70% higher than my best previous month!!!
I CAN tell you that my team has never been happier and that the moms of my practice have increased asking me how I can be so happy at work, so there’s clearly positive mental energy flying around the room.
The point I’m making is that each of us is supremely blessed on many levels, not the least of which is that we are the masters of our own destinies and we can choose how to impact our practices, patients, teams and lives on a daily basis with our injection of positive energy. I know that some of us are more subdued, but as the old saying goes, you need to “fake it till you make it” in terms of positive energy and get rid of all of the “fun suckers” in your life. They drag you down and you don’t need them.
As author Jon Gordon says in his amazing book, “The Energy Bus”, YOU are the captain of the bus and you get to choose where it’s going and who is on it. Tomorrow is Monday and I pray that you’re like me, jumping out of bed, looking to make a difference in the world. I you’re not and your unhappy or feel lost, just email me and we can work it out because our profession is a blessing and what we do a gift.
So go out there and pass on some positive energy and watch all of the amazing things that will happen. Attitude WILL affect your altitude.
Keep on flying high,
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