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17 of 100 – Do Something to Face a Fear

I mentioned to my daughters after seeing the movie, "The Bucket List" that I'd like to go skydiving.  It's one of those things I've always wanted to do.  It was on my bucket list, but wasn't one I was thinking I'd do right way.

Well my daughters remembered.  For Christmas that year, they signed me up for a tandem jump at a skydiving club.  You strap on to someone that knows what they're doing and you hop out of a plane together.  When they gave me the present, I felt a panic.  I can't tell you the fear that rose up in me.

It took me six months to schedule the jump.  There never seemed to be a good time.  I was clearly delaying it.  My middle daughter and I eventually scheduled a jump for later that summer in August.

The night before, I was kicking myself for signing up to do something so stupid.  I felt like it was something I'd be doing in a dream.  I woke up the next morning a little more calm, but still on edge.

Getting to the location made it more real.  The atmosphere was positive with newbee jumpers coming back smiling (and in one piece). Other like me were waiting for our turn.  On the wall, there were posters showing the experience of their pros.  Many had over 5,000 jumps.  I was doing the math and having a hard time understanding how someone could have accumulated so many in a only a few years.

When I met my pro, I started feeling more at ease.  I asked him, "How many you doing today?"  He leaned over and asked the pro assigned to my daughter.  "Seven total," he replied.   That helped out.  Given how many these guys do, what were my chances of being the "lucky" one that didn't make it.

I had an interesting conversation on the way up with the pro.  He asked me what I liked to do.   I told him I liked drinking wine with friends and running marathons.  "Marathons?" He said.  "That's crazy."  This was ironic and calming at the same time.  The guy who jumps out of planes for a living thought I was crazy.

My fear of jumping out of planes is behind me.  My third daughter took a jump few months back and I was the proud relaxed father taking pictures of her landing.  What a difference.

Anticipation for something that's new and unknown is usually MUCH more painful than the thing itself.  When I have face situations causing fear and anxiety, I see they are like my skydiving trip.  The anticipation and worry are the worse part.

It's not that different from quitting your job to start a business, starting a untried marketing tactic that seems off the wall and crazy, etc.

Note to self:  The build up to something that scares me is usually much worse than the actual something.


See the video of my jump below.