Unless the chute fails to open. Alternatively, your tandem instructor decides not to pull the ripcord because he has a death wish. By now, you’ve probably guessed this story is about skydiving, one of my biggest fears.
Last year, at a luncheon of an organization of Business Women, the foursome at my table began to discuss “Bucket Lists.” My Bucket List at the time, included skydiving. I casually asked if any of the others had that on their list. Nancy excitedly said yes she had wanted to jump since she was 15-years of age. She volunteered to be my accountability buddy and would do a tandem jump too. Rats, there went the excuse of “I’d never do this alone.”
The other two women said they thought we were both a bit crazy but they’d cheer us on from a safe spot on the ground. Nancy and I researched jump locations safety records, instructors, prices and personal jump site recommendations. Excuses and delays caused us to push the jump into the summer of 2016.
Jump day, Sunday, June 5 arrived. The weather was perfect. However, I was on day 16 of the worst head cold I have had in years. I had every excuse to not go through with the jump. However, I knew that if I backed out that Sunday, the odds were extremely high that I would never reschedule the jump.
Forty years before, I had taken a parachute jumping class and never made the jump. For a stack of reasons mostly having to do with an extremely rainy spring, I never put on the chute and jumped.
Facing fears is a subject I speak about frequently in my keynotes. I love to challenge my audiences to be courageous and face fears. Here are a few of the fears I’ve faced:
- The fear of not making payroll as a small business owner for 14-years.
- At age 30, I quit my job, loaded my car with the essentials I thought I’d need to live and headed west with no specific destination in mind. I had clothes for 4 seasons, a tent, sleeping bag, propane cook stove and my favorite cookbooks. I saw five states and settled for the next three years in Boulder, Colorado.
- In my 30’s, I traveled to seven European countries alone for six weeks.
- As a single woman, I purchased my first home in my 30’s before that was a common occurrence.
- After receiving a traumatic brain injury while riding on my bicycle, a few months later, I got back on the same bicycle and rode over the spot where the accident occurred.
- I’ve para sailed, skinny-dipped, spoken in front of an audience of 1,000 and visited someone at a maximum-security prison where I was informed that most of the inmates visiting with their families in the cafeteria around us were murderers.
What I’ve learned is when I face any fear, I grow stronger. The next fear is always easier to face.
Marilyn Ferguson, the author of The Aquarian Conspiracy said it succinctly, “we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.”
If you are anything like me, you yearn for freedom to live life to its fullest. No shortcuts or excuses, following the Nike slogan “Just Do It.”
Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach. She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!