Lessons From Skydiving

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All it took was asking my Uncle Jim once and he said yes to skydiving with me. He said he’d wanted to do it since I did my first ezine-jeannaskyjump. The day gave us beautiful, clear skies and no wind. He chose to do a tandem skydive so he could be harnessed onto an instructor who wears the parachute.

I sent him to the manifest desk – I love that they call it that! – to check in. Once he was through he came over and said, “I’m going to jump out at 13,500 feet, not 9,000, right?” I said, “Yes.” He said they also offered him the option to jump at 18,000 feet. I said, “Really? They don’t always offer that. Go pay more and go to the higher altitude.”

After his class, he said he’d gotten three of the other students to upgrade to 18,000 feet. Some students still chose to get out of the plane at 9,000 feet. I have never understood why they even offer this option, so I went to the manifest desk and asked. They said some folks are afraid, and think it’s less scary to jump out closer to the ground.

We both laughed, as we know this is far from what is true. Altitude is your friend. If a malfunction were to happen, the higher you are, the more time you have to correct it or pull your reserve chute. The reason why I would always encourage someone to go to the higher altitude is that you have more freefall time. Everyone always comes off tandem skydive with a smile, ear to ear, and wishes it were longer. It never fails.

I got to chase Uncle Jim out of the plane, which was the first time I’ve ever done that with a tandem. It was awesome! He got to pull the parachute out and steer once the canopy was open. What did he say when he landed? “It was awesome! It was too short (at 18,000 feet!). How long were we free falling?” I said, “About 60 seconds.” “Really? That’s all? It seemed longer.” He’s ready to go back!

So, how does all of this apply to making your life more abundant, fulfilling and joyful? Here’s what I observed in this story…

How many times do you make a choice with the expectation it will be scary, only to find out that it wasn’t scary at all? Almost all tandems wish that they would’ve gone to a higher altitude.

You can always change your mind. My uncle upgraded along with the other students to 18,000 feet.

Time expands when you are present in the moment. My uncle was so present that 60 seconds seemed like minutes.

What some people consider risky is no big deal to others. Many times the unknown makes you uncomfortable. I think skydiving is an extremely safe sport and it’s something that I looked forward to doing several times a month before I had my kids. Before I did my first skydive I thought it seemed like the scariest thing I could ever do. In fact, I said I never would do it! Where do you shut out a possibility even though you don’t have any experience from which to base that choice?

You need to ask, in order to get a yes. I used to ask people all the time if they wanted to go skydiving. I’ve gotten many yeses over the years. Until I asked, many people would’ve never had the inspiration to do it. Until you ask, the answer is always no.

Sometimes, you need to ask several times before you get a yes. I had asked two different times before to chase a tandem out of the plane. They always told me, “No, you need more skydives.” I asked again anyway. The tandem instructor said yes this time.

Let go of the way you think something needs to happen. I have always wanted to fly like a bird. I used to visualize it often. I never thought it’d be with a parachute on my back.

Everyone needs to skydive. No, I’m kidding! Although, I would like it if everyone stretched outside their norm to experience extreme fun. Skydiving is on many people’s ‘bucket list’ and yet they never follow through.

What’s something on your biz list that you’ve been saying you want and yet you haven’t moved forward? C’mon. You know there is an area that needs some revitalizing. Take one bold step today to experience thrill bumps.

Jump and the parachute will appear.

Share your experience in the comments below.

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