For the past five or six years I’ve been working pretty much around the clock on my business and the charity I founded in Vietnam. It has been a very full on my schedule which left little time for anything else.
Last year, I decided that I needed to make a few changes and put some balance into place. Those business practices came right into play so I began by putting together a list… a bucket list. It was full of things that I had previously enjoyed, I thought I might enjoy and a few major challenges to get the adrenalin going.
Recently, I faced one of the bigger challenges on the list … Skydiving!
I know it’s not for everyone – purposely jumping out of a plane at 14,000 feet, but it was something that appealed to me. That was until the tiny plane circled the bay and a Perspex door beside me let me know just what I was in for!
As we circled, I mentally prepared myself to jump. I thought about the people running this business and why I was happy to put my trust in them. I was literally trusting them with my life.
Then, I realised that skydiving has many similarities to running a business, particularly one that is successful.
As I got closer to the edge and my harness was tightened, I had the thought that I was ready for this jump. I had chosen a well-regarded company with a great safety record. I had the right gear on and I listened very carefully to all the instructions.
I was prepared!
Just as I worked hard to be prepared in my business. I have a dynamic plan that is revisited and reviewed regularly. I have also taken the time to hire the right people who I can count on.
My first jump was a tandem jump, my instructor was very experienced and he really knew what he was doing. I knew I was in good hands. I knew my skydiving experience would be so much more successful if I just listened carefully to this man.
Just as in business, I listen to my mentor.
I knew I didn’t have all the knowledge or experience I needed in the different areas of my business, particularly marketing. So, I work with a mentor who does. It’s his strength, and if I listen carefully, I’ll benefit from his experience.
As you jump out of the plane and freefall at a great speed (about 250km), you realise that you’ve taken a risk. Once you can focus and breathe again, you realise that it’s a mitigated risk. In the air, you have the chutes and the floatation device that’s strapped to your waist in case of disaster, just as it is in business. We don’t intend to fail but we should be prepared for those things that can and do go wrong at times.
Risk management is important.
When all of these are in place, you get to savour the wonderfully slow descent and enjoy the amazing view. The magic is in the moment. I think we can all relate to the passion of a business that is doing well as goals are being reached.
For me, one of the best parts of skydiving was the great feeling of “face the fear, and do it anyway” and really enjoying the process! We often face scary situations in business, enough to rob us of sleep at times. Overcoming those fears and coming out the other side victoriously is a wonderful feeling as any business owner will tell you. The next scary episode isn’t quite as frightening.
We build resilience.
We get better and stronger. Those unavoidable challenge become just that, a challenge, not a sign of game over. In fact, when we do overcome those challenges, and enjoy a victory, we are more passionate and recharged to get back to work to chase the next goal.
It’s kind of like loving the skydive so much that you think about doing it again in far off locations…
Hmm, I must update the bucket list!