The first time I went skydiving, I was very excited about the jump and having this phenomenal life experience. But all that changed when we were at 10,000 feet and my instructor rolled open the door.
The reality of what I was about to do instantly became very present. Skydiving was no longer just an idea. It was something that was happening now.
Suddenly, it was just me, the edge of the airplane, and the sky. I was literally paralyzed. I could not move.
As I sat there looking at my instructor, looking at me, looking terrified, I realized that something profound was happening. It wasn’t just the fear of dying that prevented me from getting out of that door. It’s that I couldn’t imagine myself as a skydiver.
Stepping Into the Unknown YOU.
Throughout my life, I lived in a self-concept of not being an extreme sports guy. I had never gone mountain climbing, bungee jumping, or even ridden a roller coaster.
I used all that evidence of what I hadn’t done to lock in my identity as someone who would not skydive.
So, sitting there in the airplane, I realized that the only way to get out of that door was to completely erase the current version of me. I had to wipe out the concept of who Dan Gordon was and become unknown, even to myself.
I turned to my instructor and said, “I don’t know who I am, but I’m going to find out once I get out that door!”
I scooted to the edge of the airplane. With my feet now dangling out of the door, I counted.
One! Two! THREEEEEE…
And then Four! Five! And out I went.
I tumbled several times but quickly stabilized in the classic skydiving pose. Arms outstretched and knees bent just a little, I looked from horizon to horizon and said to myself, “I’m doing it.”
The Two Astounding Realizations
Then, two truly astounding realizations came to me.
The first realization was how calm I felt. Strange, right? Why was I less scared outside of the plane than when I was inside it?
But the truth is that when you finally take action on the thing you’re most afraid of doing, you’re immediately rewarded with a sense of calm.
I thought I’d be terrified, hurtling toward the Earth at 125 miles per hour, but instead, I felt more peaceful and relaxed than I ever had.
Perhaps people are drawn to extreme sports, not for the adrenaline rush, but for the peace, they feel in stepping into the void.
The second astonishing realization was that very soon, I was going to find out whether or not my parachute was going to work. It occurred to me that there was no way of knowing if it would work before I got out of the plane.
While plummeting through the air is a lousy time to discover whether or not you have a good parachute, that’s just how life works. You have to take the risk first, then find out if it was a good idea later.
Also, my safety chute was a good reminder that, even if things go wrong, there are always options for achieving success.
So the bottom line is if you wait till you feel sure about doing anything, chances are, you will never do it. You will simply continue living in a constant state of fear and regret until you choose to take action.
The funny thing was, with all this calm contemplation, I completely forgot about the parachute. When it was finally deployed, I looked up and thought, “Oh, yeah. That’s right. The parachute.”
If it had been left to me, I probably would have ended up as a very calm dark spot on the ground.
A New Courage Like Never Before
That single experience continues to have long-reaching effects on my life and, by association, the life of my clients and just about everyone with whom I have shared this story.
I have used these life lessons repeatedly in every risky venture I have taken in my personal and business life.
Whenever I feel hesitant, I remind myself that a great calm awaits me on the other side of my fear. I remember that I will never know whether or not a risk is a good idea until after I take it.
But I also remember that, like my safety chute, if things go wrong, there are always other options and people in my life who will help me.
The likelihood of ending up as a dark spot on the ground is always much smaller than your fear would like you to believe. And even if you end up that way, isn’t it better to roll the giant dice in life than to live in perpetual fear?
Want Some Help Out The Door?
If you’d like some help stepping into the next greatest version of YOU, download a free copy of my book, “Jumping the Gap- Kill Your Story & Take Action.”
Just text the word GAP to (213) 409-8366. This book will help you kill all those stories and excuses that hold you back from taking bold action in life and business.
You can also book a 15 min, no-cost consultation with me. Just CLICK HERE or text the word HELP to that same number, (213) 409-8366.
Just one word of caution, though. You just may end up staring at the open door of an airplane, wondering if you, too, have the courage to jump.
I’m Coach Dan Gordon. Hope this has been helpful.