Lessons Learned From Sky Diving

By May 10, 2011 8 Comments

They say fear keeps men (and woman) from achieving greatness.  Fear is a strong force the keeps us from achieving all we want out of life.

“The key to change… is to let go of fear”

I believe those who are most successful in life, are those who feel the fear and do it anyways.  Can you imagine what the Navy Seals 6 team was feeling as they were in their helicopters, moments before they repelled down to kill the most wanted man in the world?  What if they would have refused to leave the comfort of their helicopter?

At 27 years old, I am wanting to step out even further and bust through fear barriers, because with each successful fear that I can overcome I will gain more confidence in all areas of life, and when a certain fear comes upon me, I have a reference point to a past event where I was successful at overcoming my fear.  That reference point will help me in future challenges.

So I decided to overcome my fear of falling, and heights, I would jump out of a plane.  So check out this video.

This experience was amazing.

I did this in Omro, WI and I swear this place was on the guys farm. He was in his 70’s and he has been flying these planes for 48 years. The plane taxied on what seemed to be his driveway. Then he turned around and gunned it, on the driveway we had just gone down! That was pretty weird, and I have never been in a small Sesna plane before and with a 20 mph side wind, the 30 minute ride to 11,000 feet was a very hot and bumpy ride. Hence the beginning of my sickness. Then my tandem guy, couldn’t get the door open when it was time to jump, so the pilot had to reach over and unjam the pin in the door.

The door flung open, and all I could see was clouds and ground below me. In the scramble to open the door we missed our jump opportunity so the pilot, cranks a hard circle, and all the force was trying to push me out the open door. I hung on tight to the door frame and the pilots seat (we were sitting on the floor). Finally it was time to jump, I was sitting on the guys lap and we had to climb out on to a step underneath the wing. Well I am quite tall, and have extremely long legs compared to my upperbody, and I was unable to fit my body through the door with the long legs. It took the help of the pilot and tandem guy to contort my legs to get them out. Once out under the wing, I can’t really describe the sense of being in the middle of a cloud, with cold air temperatures, going 120 mph.

My thoughts were nowhere but in that moment. I wasn’t thinking about the release of my book, or the emails I had waiting for me, or what I was going to do later on that day. I was completely present, completely aware of my surroundings.

All of a sudden with a push, we flip out of the plane and out of the cloud and hurling down to earth at 120 mph. The feeling was amazing. 25 seconds of free fall was abruptly ended by the opening of the parachute. It is a pretty good jolt, and after about 10 seconds, I knew that there was a high probability that the 6 inch sub I ate just an hour before at Subway, would come up. Side note: my brother and I were deciding at Subway if we should eat the whole foot or save some for after the jump. I am glad I saved some. 🙂

Even though the parachute is open, puke goes straight up and fast. My first thought was to make sure it didn’t hit my guy attached to my back, so I way trying to turn my head and cover up. That didn’t work very well. I am not sure how much got on him, but I had a good amount all over my jump suit and on my face. After about 2 minutes of throwing up, I was able to enjoy the final 3 minutes floating back down to earth. I even got to take control of the parachute.

It was a great time, and I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it again sometime.

Next time I have fear and doubt creep into my life, I am going to think back to the moment before I jumped out of the plane.  I can do anything!

Relating this to fitness, many times that means just showing up and starting the journey.  Groupon featured my Fit Fun Bootcamps over the weekend, and we have about 450 new bootcampers that joined us.  I have been able to meet a few of them so far, and it is interesting to hear some of their stories.  One of the women has been getting my newsletters and emails for over a year, seeing all the amazing changes people have been getting, but yet she said she was too intimidated to come.  She had been an athlete but let herself go since having kids, a very common story.  But finally she got the courage to show up and try hard, and she did great!  For her that was her sky diving moment.  Now she knows she can do it, and there is no doubt she will succeed if she stays part of our program.

Question of the day:  I am sure many of you have sky dived or done something else that scared you, please share what that was and how the experience affected you.