“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”

-Tony Robbins[1]

Ben Sliney is hardly a household name, but it should be. On his first day as the National Operations Manager of a federal agency he had to make a decision that, if he was wrong, could cost him his job.
He worked for the Federal Aviation Administration. The day was September 11th, 2001. At 8:45 AM, a plane crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. At 9:03 AM, a second plane crashed into the south tower and it became clear that this was not an accident. Two minutes later, Andrew Card informed president Bush that the nation is under attack while he listened to an elementary teacher read a Goat Story to sixteen second-graders.[2] By 9:30, President Bush was on the air telling the nation that the United States has experienced an “apparent terrorist attack.”[3]
Make a Decision
Tony Robbins is an author, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is worth $500 million.[4] He made much of his fortune by telling people what they already know but do not apply. For example, he wrote:

Instead of making decisions, we keep stating preferences. Making a true decision, unlike saying, “I’d like to quit smoking,” is cutting off any other possibility. In fact, the word “decision” comes from the Latin roots de, which means “from,” and caedere, which means “to cut.” Making a true decision means committing to achieving a result, and then cutting yourself off from any other possibility.[5]

The truth of this statement is nothing new, of course. We know that a true decision requires follow-through or it is merely a desire. We know that if we want to change our circumstances, we need to change course, but often we fail to act.
A parallel idea is the theological concept of repentance.  We think of repentance as feeling bad about something or apologizing for doing wrong. It does mean that you regret your actions, but it means something more. According to Strong’s concordance, repent is from the Greek word metanoeó, which means to change one’s mind or mental direction.[6] It is a verb, and a very requires action. According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, “It has two usual senses: a ‘change of mind’ and ‘regret/remorse.’ In the Synoptic Gospels metanoia indicated ‘turning away from sin’ (Mark 1:4).”[7] The evidence of this mental shift is in the actions that follow the change of direction.
So it is with decision-making. Making a decision is not just mental assent to a good idea. It also requires action.
Ben Sliney’s Decision
Nine minutes after President Bush addressed the nation, a third plane crashed into the Pentagon. Sliney ordered a national ground stop for all aircraft in the United States. Such an extraordinary step had never been taken in American History, but Sliney made the right call. According to the 911 Report:

The Command Center’s national operations manager, Ben Sliney, ordered all FAA facilities to ensure all aircraft to land at the nearest airport. This was an unprecedented order. The air traffic control system handled it with great skill, as about 4,500 commercial and general aviation aircraft soon landed without incident.[8]

            Multiple false reports of hijacked or missing planes created a fog of war that made Sliney’s situation more difficult. At the time, no one knew how many planes the hijackers had weaponized. In fact, United Airlines flight 93 was barreling toward Washington at that moment. What Sliney knew, however, was that it would be much more difficult to use these weapons if all of the planes were on the ground. He took action. In hindsight, his actions appear obvious, but at the time, Sliney made an important decision—one that had never been taken before.
Your Moment of Decision
Actionable items have followed every lesson you have read so far. What actions have you taken? Have you worked our your USP or mission statement? Have you created a marketing plan or a strategy based on what you have read? Strategy without execution is worthless.
Decide right now what you will do to move forward. Don’t read the next lesson without taking immediate action to do something with what you have already learned.

Actionable items:

What actions have you taken because of what you have read in the previous lessons?
What actions will you commit to take right now?

End Notes

[1] Robbins, A. (1991). Awaken the giant within: How to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical & financial destiny. New York, N.Y: Summit Books.
[2] Elsis, M.R. (2002). 911 Timeline. 911Timeline.net. Retrieved from http://www.911timeline.net/
[3] September 11: Chronicle of Terror. (2001, September 12). CNN. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/09/11/chronology.attack/
[4] Galvis, M (2016, July 8). Tony Robbins debuts on Netflix—check out his net worth. GoBankingRates. Retrieved from https://www.gobankingrates.com/personal-finance/tony-robbins-debuts-netflix-net-worth/
[5] Robbins, A. (1991). Awaken the giant within: How to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical & financial destiny. New York, N.Y: Summit Books.
[6] 3340. metanoeó. (n.d.). Strong’s Concordance. Retrieved from http://biblehub.com/greek/3340.htm
[7] Repentance. (n.d.). Baker’s Evangelical dictionary of Bible theology. Retrieved from http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/repentance/
[8] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (2010). The 9/11 Commission report: Final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. United States: Published and distributed by SOHO Books, as released by the U.S. Government. (p. 29).