Scott Burrows

An Afternoon with Captain Charlie Plumb: How Resilience is Maintained with Vision, Mindset, and Grit

Back in the early 90’s, during my tenure as a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual Life, I had the privilege of attending their annual meeting in Milwaukee, WI. The keynote speaker at that event was Captain Charlie Plumb. His inspirational story of being a prisoner of war for 6 years, and having the strength to build resilience, captivated thousands of us in the audience and earned him a standing ovation.

On Captain Plumb’s 75th mission his plane was shot down, and he was taken prisoner just 5 days before the end of his tour. During his time in prison he proved to be an excellent individual in underground communication. Maintaining his Vision, Mindset, and Grit, he was able to build and keep his resilience through the years. Thus, proceeding to help with the war efforts while incarcerated on enemy territory. 

His ability to overcome adversity using his own life-changing experiences as a backdrop resonated deeply with me. I admire his Grit and Resilience greatly. In fact, I was so moved that I made a commitment to myself to pursue a similar path. Nine years later, I took the leap, and when I eventually penned my book, I credited Charlie for inspiring my journey into keynote speaking. Such an opportunity has taken me across dozens of events and many states. I have had the privilege of inspiring and speaking to others across various industries. 

One particularly memorable speaking engagement was at the “Million Dollar Round Table Experience” in Southeast Asia, Bangkok, Thailand. Addressing an audience of 9,000 financial advisors, it was the largest platform I’d ever spoken on. The experience evoked memories of watching Charlie command the stage years earlier.

Charlie’s resilience continues to shine. Just last week, he shared on LinkedIn that he had completed an epic 36-day Air Journey Tour of South America. His enduring embrace of adventure, curiosity, and vulnerability remains the driving force behind his unforgettable experiences. But, it’s his Resilience that really pushed him beyond the limits of what others thought possible. 

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