Last month, I was flying back from Texas with my oldest daughter when a woman in the seat in front of us had a medical issue. The passenger beside her noticed that something was wrong and alerted the flight attendants. After a few hurried minutes of activity and help from a nurse who just happened to be on the plane, the situation escalated.

Several passengers — myself included — stepped in to help lay her flat in the aisle, provide her with oxygen, take her blood pressure and attempt to communicate with her. These three passengers (who had never met and did not have much expertise), the nurse and the crew were able to get her situated so we could continue care and make a decision about what needed to happen next. Do we land or keep going?

Here are four key lessons I learned from that flight.

1.Sometimes you just have to stop and think. In business and in life, moments of urgency are all around us. We, being human, tend to react rather than respond to situations.

On that flight, for example, we initially reacted and then, once we had to, we stopped to think, “What now?” We had a critical choice to make and even without knowing all of the details about the woman’s condition, we made it. We decided to land and get her professional care.

Sometimes in life we should take a step back, stop reacting and think about what must happen next to ensure, as best we can, the greatest positive outcome.

2. Decide to change your path. Once we decided that the woman needed professional care, the next step became clear: descend quickly and get on the ground as soon as possible. Changing a path you have set out on is never an easy thing to do. John Mullins, Professor of Entrepreneurship at The London Business School, talks about the fact that most businesses end up being something much different than they were originally intended to be. This success in Plan B is often attributed to the willingness to attempt, fail and learn in a repeated manner with the eventuality of a change in direction.

3. Grab a friend and a professional. On our flight, the small team of caregivers became friends to the woman. I am not sure if any of us thought much about it, but when the need arose, we just, well, helped.

In life, either professionally or personally, you will need a friend or two to just help sometimes. Find yourself a few true friends that will be there when the times get tough, because they will, and be vulnerable with those people. Talk with them about your fears and shortcomings. Being vulnerable builds trust faster than anything else.

On our flight, the woman was likely at the most vulnerable point in her life, traveling alone and 30,000 feet in the air. She needed friends.

Also, it helps to have a professional on your team of friends. Whatever you are doing or wanting to do, there are people who have done it and have done it well. They know the answers to most of the questions. Seek these people out and ask for help and they will likely give it freely. Remember, someone did it for them, too.

4. You are not alone — ever. This was something that surprised me on that flight. No matter where you are in life. No matter how tough it gets. No matter the circumstances. We are never completely alone. There will always be someone that will help us. We just need to ask and be open to it.

The flight story ends with a landing in Little Rock and the EMTs boarding the plane to take over the care. I don’t know what happened after my new friend left the plane, but I do know that through the experience, I learned a little more about myself and the grace of others.

This story was originally published in The Tennessean.