It recently hit me that change is a lot like skydiving. Yeah, skydiving.
You are probably asking yourself “Skydiving? What can skydiving teach me about change?”
After my first skydive in 2011, I can say it can teach you quite a bit.
Imagine taking a plane ride. You are in a tiny Cessna airplane. It fits three people comfortably if you are lucky. On this trip, there are five people on the plane. A pilot, two instructors, another person, and yourself.
As you take off the plane is loud. Rolling on the runway it is bumpy and rough. You wonder if the plane will be able to lift into the air.
It does and you start circling. Up and up you go. The ground below grows further away.
Twenty minutes into the flight you are 11,000 feet into the air.
The plane is now warm, almost unbearably so. All of a sudden one of the instructors reaches over and opens the door to the plane.
Air rushes in, quickly cooling the plane. It creates noise, it sounds like you are in the eye of a hurricane.
You and your instructor (who is attached to your back) scoot towards the open door.
Now you have a decision to make. Do you leap or do you stay in the plane?
I chose to leap. I did not regret it.
Whether it be skydiving or change, I think you should take the leap.
Here is what I learned from taking that leap
- You may be scared
Leaping out of a plane can be scary. As you scoot yourself to the door, you are told to place your feet on a small square. You can now see the ground and there is nothing holding you back from it.
Your instructor then tells you to rock back and forth three times and to go out on the third rock. You are now free falling.
It is a scary yet exhilarating experience.
With change, the same feelings can be felt.
You know what has to happen but you will not be in total control. Things could go wrong.
You are scared and that is okay.
- You may not realize how quickly it happens
From the time you leap out of the airplane until you pull the cord to open your parachute is 35-45 seconds. In that time, you have fallen a mile! That is quick.
But once the parachute opens, the chaos slows. You are no longer falling at 120 miles an hour. Now you are gently floating towards the ground.
Change comes at you the same way. In the blink of an eye the world around you can change.
You may have lost a job, been served papers, or been diagnosed with a disease.
It all seems to have come so quickly. And it may have.
But just like skydiving, things start to slow down. You are not free falling anymore. Life returns to a semblance of normalcy.
- You need to have someone with you who knows what they are doing
On your first leaps, you are required to have an instructor with you. He will be strapped to your back in a harness and he will be your best friend.
During this jump, I was told I would be able to pull the cord to open the parachute. That was exciting. But more than forty seconds passed and I missed pulling the cord. My instructor pulled it and deployed the chute.
Had he not pulled the cord and deployed the parachute, the outcome could have been bad. Thankfully he was there to help me.
During seasons of change, it is vital you have someone that will help you walk through it. He will be able to guide you, to teach you, and to tell you it will be okay.
He will “pull the cord” for you during change.
- You may have a rough landing
My touchdown did not go as planned. The wind was not right and we hit the ground faster than expected. This caused the instructor to tumble over me.
No one was hurt. But it was rough.
The end of change can be rough.
You may have to move on. You may have to pursue reconciliation. Your world may be shaken to the its core.
Regardless of how rough it is, it is survivable. You must get back up and brush off the dust and the dirt.
Get back out there and live.
- You will be amazed by the experience
The experience of skydiving is something I will never forget.
There was the rushing wind, the cold chill, the sudden drop, and the slow descent.
All of these created a memory that I will not forget.
Your experiences during change could be looked back upon in the same way.
It has a way of shaping you. Creating something new.
The process may have been painful but you will have gained from it.
When you face change, remember it is something that you can get through. Life will go on and you will grow.
If you keep that in mind, change can be a positive force in your life.
Question: Can you see any other ways that change could be like leaping out of an airplane? Or what changes have you faced that you were scared of but turned out for the best? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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