Very good article Staci; fun, with plenty of excellent insight into how fear can hold us back from living our dreams. Wishing you success in Everything! Steve
Don't Give Fear a Chance - And Other Lessons I Learned from Skydiving
Yesterday, I willingly threw myself out of a perfectly good airplane at 13,000 feet in the air and it was unbelievable! Not only was it absolutely incredible, but I also learned a very valuable lesson about fear.
Yesterday I did the most "dare devil" thing I've ever done in my life. I willingly threw myself out of a perfectly good airplane at 13,000 feet in the air and it was unbelievable!
I screamed at the top of my lungs for the entire 30 seconds of terror-filled free fall as I plummeted head first toward Earth. I was absolutely terrified. All I could think was, "What did I just do? I'm an idiot and this is the worst decision I've ever made. I want my mommy and I want this to be over NOW!"
But then, I mustered the courage to look up and I saw the most stunning view of Mt. Rainier in the distance. At that moment, I realized that I was enjoying the most incredible experience I could ask for. I let go of the harness that I was gripping for dear life and I spread my arms and started to soar.
I floated through the air looking around at the amazing landscape that surrounded me. I was able to see as far as Mt. Hood because we chose the 1 sunny day in Seattle to make our jump. It was breathtaking. And I was so glad that I had made the choice to take a leap of faith and hurl myself into the sky. Not only was it just absolutely incredible, but I also learned a very valuable lesson about fear.
My Lessons on Fear
Before the jump, I wasn't really nervous because I wasn't sure what to expect. I only had two real fears 1) The landing. 2) That I was going to love the experience so much that I would want to do it over and over again. Skydiving isn't exactly the cheapest hobby to take up, so my real fear was for my wallet.
During the flight to reach our 13,000 feet destination, I still wasn't really fearful of the experience. I kept waiting for that gut-sinking moment, but it didn't really happen. That is, until the plane door opened and I realized that I was actually going to have to do it.
But here's the awesome part...I wasn't given time to back out. Once the plane door opened the first jumper headed out the door, quickly followed by jumper number 2, 3, 4, and 5. Then it was my boyfriend’s turn and then WHOA! Next thing I knew my feet were dangling over the side of the plane and I was staring down at 13,000 feet of nothingness. I couldn't back out so I took a huge breathe, closed my eyes and hoped for the best.
- Lesson #1 about fear. Don't let yourself become fearful. The second that I became nervous I was quickly ushered out of the plane within 45 seconds. That's not a lot of time to contemplate all of the tragic events that could have taken place, so my fear never really grabbed hold and I was quickly able to overcome it.
In life and business, if I focus on the negative outcomes, then I start to build up fears and roadblocks that aren't really based on facts. I think, well, I shouldn't even call this person because they probably aren't interested anyway. Or, I shouldn't even launch this program because it's going to suck for reasons A,B,C and no one is going to want to buy it. And once those fears take hold, I'm stuck. I'm so terrified of failing that I don't even try and my business or personal life doesn't move forward.
Through this experience, I have learned that it's unfruitful to dwell on the negative "what if" questions, in my life and business. After my skydive adventure, I now know that I just need to close my eyes and go for it. I can't give myself time to think about the negative "what ifs;" I just need to run with my idea and trust that everything will work out.
After I hoped for the best, my jumpmaster, Larry, pushed us out of the plane...head first. This is the point at which I regretted making the choice to jump. Absolute terror took over my body. I felt nothing but fear and wind hitting me at 120mph. I couldn't move, I couldn't think, I couldn't breathe.
A few seconds (or what felt like a lifetime) after the free fall began, Larry tapped me on the shoulder to let me know that I needed to kick my legs back and spread my arms. Not wanting to die, I followed the command. I adjusted my position just in time to see the majestic Mt. Rainier in the distance. Then, I took another deep breath and I looked around at the wonders that surrounded me. Wow! It was awe inspiring.
- Lesson #2. Fear happens, but you can't let it stop you. I was utterly gripped with fear during the free fall. I was begging for the experience to end. I wanted to pack up shop and magically be on the ground again. But I couldn't. That simply wasn't an option. So, what did I do? I adjusted my position and found a way to get over my fear and enjoy my experience.
In life, after making a major choice it's natural to have fears and regrets. The key is to make sure your fears don't stop you from being successful. In skydiving, once you make the choice to plummet to the Earth, there really is no turning back, so you're kind of forced to see it through to the end. After realizing that fear happens, I have challenged myself to think of my business as a sky dive experience...there is no other choice but to see it through to the end.
There are lots of times that I think Penny Wise and my Budgetista Boot Camp are stupid ideas and no one is ever going to want to be my client so I should just give up. This is my fear of failure talking. I've taken a huge leap of faith in starting my own company and sometimes that fear creeps in, but I can't let it stop me from reaching my goals. I just have to keep working with different ideas until I find what works, but I can't give up. If a launch fails, then I have to keep thinking about what else could work. If no one signs up for a program, I can't let it get me down and add to my fears. The key to success is to keep overcoming your fears by challenging yourself to try new and innovative adventures regardless of whether you fail or succeed.
The last part of the dive was parachuting toward the landing field. This part was peaceful and a great opportunity to take in the surrounding scenery. I got to enjoy a view that most people could only dream of. Pretty amazing.
Floating through the air meant that the dive was a success. The chute ejected and it was able to carry us to safety. This was the moment to take in the powerful feeling of achieving the impossible - flying.
The landing was also pretty smooth and fairly uneventful. We didn't slide in on our butts or trip over each other or get bombarded by the parachute. No, we pretty much just touched down and put our feet on the ground. Then I was able to watch my boyfriend float in with his jumpmaster and have an equally smooth landing.
- Lesson #3 Fear means you’re on your way to success. This is a short lesson because we've all heard it before. If you're caught up in fear, it's probably because what you're afraid of is exactly what you need to be doing in order to be successful. If you're gripped in fear after a major life or business decision, it probably means that you've chosen a great path to success; you just have to see it through to the end.
The float to the ground was the reward of overcoming my fear - it was my success. Had I not faced my fear and jumped, I never would have been able to enjoy the amazing views that I got to experience.
What success are you craving? How are your fears holding you back? In what ways can you overcome that fear and start working to make your dreams a reality?
Learn more about the author, Staci Dennett.
Comment on this article
Posted by Steve Kozy, Nashville, Tennessee |
Aug 19, 2011
Posted by Edward Moda, Everett, Washington |
Aug 19, 2011
Staci, I've made about 750 skydives from 13,000+ and have seen Mt. Rainier many times. Even now I call on the courage it took to make those jumps and use it in everyday life. Blue Skies. Ed Moda
Posted by Angel True, Portland, Oregon |
Aug 19, 2011
Awesome lessons Staci! I did the same thing last year and it created huge shifts for me too!
Posted by Chas Wyatt, Gladstone, Oregon |
Aug 19, 2011
A great and inspiring story~ thank you for sharing your adventure and words of encouragement with us.
Posted by Lori Richardson, Portsmouth, New Hampshire |
Aug 21, 2011
Staci, thanks for writing this and sharing your exciting adventure, and how it ties into the courage needed to follow your passion.
The toughest part of running your own business is the first part - that "packing your parachute" part and the plane ride before you jump. As you tie that to business building - once you get over the fear you can see the amazing horizons.
I applaud your wise point of view - keep it going!
Lori Richardson www.scoremoresales.com
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