I’ll always remember the day when I hopped on a plane knowing there’s only way out. And that was by diving into the blue skies from 10,000 feet. Just like I’ll always remember the day when I decided to leave my home country and family business behind, in order to start from scratch in London.
This is my feedback on some of the lessons I got out of the skydiving experience that can be applied in business and how they can help you with yours.
1) Turning fear into faith
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” – Hellen Keller
Picture this. You are high up in the sky, wearing your jumpsuit and goggles when the plane’s door opens. All you can hear is the wind. And in that fraction of a moment, when you have a quick glimpse of the blue horizon, your heart skips a beat. “Okay this is actually happening”, I remember telling myself. So here I was, getting ready to make the most of the experience that comes my way.
It’s very much like starting a business from scratch. You need the strength and the courage to jump into the unknown. You need the power to let go and the ability to stay positive while being focused on your goal. In my case, I knew I wanted to land on the ground safe and sound. But every journey starts with a single… jump. Yes – it is a big leap of faith. And you have to unleash the inner blocks that are standing between you and your dream. But in order to let your mission ring across the world, you have to take action. And be confident that you’ll achieve the results you want.
2) Mastering the art of letting go
I could see the first few skydivers leaving the aircraft, one by one. Then it was my turn to jump into the abyss, with my instructor right behind me. We approached the exit. While my instructor was still sitting on the edge of the plane, I was already out there; dangling in the air, wind in my face, feet under the aircraft, I was waiting for the usual 3-2-1 count down. Next thing I knew he let go.
And the ability to let go is a key trait of successful entrepreneurs. I first learnt that lesson from Eric Wagner, serial U.S. entrepreneur and author on Forbes. Insist on controlling too much and you risk your company’s need to change. Because sometimes in business you need to let go of an employee, let go of an unproductive habit, let go of a business strategy that doesn’t work and simply dive into the unknown. Just like I did.
3) Getting hold of a mentor
I was free falling and enjoying every single moment along the way. But I wasn’t alone in my journey. The tandem skydiving made the whole experience way more enjoyable. Just like in business – the first steps into the unknown have to be accompanied by someone who’s been there and done that. An experienced mentor can get you from where you are to where you want to be. I wouldn’t want to imagine struggling to open up the parachute myself!
And the entrepreneurial journey can be a lonely route, but it doesn’t always have to be this way. A business mentor can take you from point A to point B and knows all the right strategies and backup plans to get you there. So make sure you surround yourself by experienced entrepreneurs and tap their brain for wisdom.
4) Being present
During my descent, all I could think of was the present moment. I felt on top of the world and shouting with joy. I never felt freer. And for that timeless sensation in itself, when you empty your mind of any thoughts and focus on the now, the experience is truly worth it. Because in the end – life is nothing but a string made up of present moments.
But sometimes entrepreneurs dwell in the past thinking about all the things they could have done. Or other times they worry too much about the future and start panicking because of the lack of time. But in reality – all we need to focus on is the present moment. The past is gone. The future is yet to be created. And it’s not too late to start creating it now.
5) Not being afraid to take risks
Was falling off a plane at a speed of 200miles/hour a risk? Yes indeed. I signed a waiver saying that I’m aware of the risk of dying or getting injured as a result of this experience. But what’s life without risk? The risky decisions I made in the past – from starting a business to skydiving – brought me where I am today.
And you and I both know that certainty is an ideal. Seriously – there are no guarantees in life. All you can have is an illusion of certainty. So you might as well embrace the big question mark that lies ahead of you. Embrace uncertainty. Live the moment. And simply let go.