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What Surviving a Plane Crash Taught Me About Leadership

Don't ignore help when it's offered

I’m not supposed to be alive, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. On the afternoon of December 12, 2014, I was flying a private plane back from Kansas City to Springfield and it felt like business as usual. I was consulting with a group of home health executives and making the 45-minute trip weekly. I had earned my pilot’s license 15 years prior and accumulated my fair share of flight hours.

I detected weather coming in so I asked my three colleagues to be at the airport at 4 p.m. so we could make it back to Springfield before dark. They showed up about 4:30 p.m. and visibility wasn’t that bad, so I thought we could takeoff. We were in a Piper 32, single-engine aircraft, that seats six people though we only had four. We set off on our initial climb and got above the clouds just in time to see the most beautiful sunset.

We made it to Springfield and started our descent in lockstep with the trailing sun. We were on an instrument plan because of weather and that meant we could only come down so far before the control tower would turn us loose to land. We hovered at that level when the controller said we should be able to see land, but all I could see were clouds in front of me.

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