The wind was blowing into my face faster than I had ever experienced, and everything was loud—the breeze roared, the propellers screamed and my heartbeat pounded.
Standing outside of a plane flying about three miles above the ground, I suddenly asked myself how I got here and why I was about to endure a long plummet toward the earth.
Let’s rewind a bit.
I have always been an adrenaline junky. Anything that makes me nervous—I want to do. So, skydiving seemed like a perfect fit. After putting it off for a few years, I finally rallied my father and brother to join me as we jumped out of a plane.
We drove up to Pepperell, Massachusetts to a skydiving facility and the second we walked into their office, I was furious!
“What? This is ridiculous! I have to have some dude attached to my back for this first jump??? I don’t need that! I can pull my own damn cord.”
They would not budge. Apparently, you needed to be ‘certified’ to jump without an instructor attached to your back.
Since I wasn’t going to drive home in protest, I resigned myself to jumping ‘tandem,’ as they called it.
There was about forty-five minutes of instruction where they showed us everything we would have to do in order to not kill ourselves. There was a lot to remember—but I was still feeling cocky. “If the 14 year old girl next me could do this, then my jump would be cake…
With my instructor, Jason, attached to my back we waddled onto the plane.
Once in the plane, we had to get onto our knees straddling a short balance beam between our legs to keep us stable. “I got this.” I told myself, but I could feel my palms beginning to moisten.
Then the plane took off, and the blood that normally circulates comfortably in my face decided to go elsewhere. I could feel myself turning white, and I became dizzy.
Then the pilot announced that we were at jumping altitude—fifteen thousand feet above the earth.
Any confidence I had instantly dissipated when one of the more experienced skydivers did something that my stomach clearly protested.
He opened the door…
The relatively quiet airplane cabin was immediately filled with a rush of cool fresh air. At this point, all I could hear was the beat of my heart pounding, not in my chest, but in my head. I looked over to the fourteen year-old girl smirking at me.
I hated that kid.
All I can remember thinking at that moment was…
“Thank you God, that I am attached to this man.”
Ultimately, jumping out of the plane was one of the defining moments of my life. And got me thinking, “How cool would it be to have someone attached to us to push us into doing things that we know we should do but are afraid to do?”
At first, I thought that my instructor, Jason, was unnecessary, but I realized that he had become my guardian angel, pushing me to do something that I probably could not have done on my own—jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
In your own life, what are those things that you know you should do, but put off because they make you uncomfortable? Since you probably don’t have your own ‘Jason’ to push you into it, what can you do to push yourself into it? To take that first step.
What holds us back from having what we really want is our fears and inner demons. And by the way, they rarely deserve the credit we give them.
So, be your own skydiving instructor and take that first step towards what you know you want and should do. I promise that it will be the start to a far more fulfilling and meaningful life.
Written by Marc Wayshak, university speaker and conference speaker.