This past Friday evening I was sitting on my terrace overlooking the Hudson River in New Jersey when I spotted two World War II–era fighter planes flying straight down the Hudson. Just as they passed me, the plane on the left started sputtering. White smoke started trailing the plane, and I knew the pilot was in trouble. The smoke got thicker and thicker as the plane lost altitude, and I realized the plane was going to crash into the water. The river had a few barges on it, and my fear was that the plane would hit one of those ships.
The plane’s pilot, William Gordon, 56, of Key West, Florida, was a veteran air show pilot with more than 25 years of experience. The pilot successfully did what he had to do to ditch the plane in the water and avoid hurting anyone else. I consider the pilot a hero, but the sad news is that he lost his life in the process.
For a moment I wondered whether the plane crash was some kind of stunt, because the whole event felt surreal. It is shocking how brittle life can be. On the one hand, you have someone living for years against all odds, and on the other hand you have someone losing their life in a terrible and unexpected event.
As I have been re-living this horrible beginning to the holiday weekend, I can’t escape the thought that none of us ever know when our time will come. It’s made me ask myself, as a motivational speaker, sales expert and leadership expert, whether I am using my every waking moment as I am meant to. Are you? Are you using your time to IMPACT our world? Are you doing what you were put on this earth to do? I, for one, want to IMPACT others positively until my last breath, just like the brave pilot did.
It’s easy to get caught in the flow of life’s demands and allow time to slip by without doing anything positive. There are countless reasons for this; here are a few:
- Being lost in assumptions that are not valid
- Looking at the negatives rather than the positives
- Succumbing to our own negatives thoughts
- Not being in communication with others
- Not being grateful for all we have
- Being self-focused rather than focused on helping others
- Not having a clear vision of what we want to accomplish
Any of these scenarios will take us off our game and cause us to lose vital time that could have been used to positively IMPACT others and the world.
The NAACP had a famous commercial in the 1970’s and 1980’s that said, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Well here is another version that applies to all of us: “A minute is too precious to waste; our minutes are meant to IMPACT those who count on us as well as the world at large.”
How are you using your minutes? What are you doing now to IMPACT others?