By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to sharpen your sense of perspective. Reading time: 3:27
There I was on a precarious perch.
Just inches away from the plane’s open door.
Just inches away from the engine’s deafening roar.
Just inches away from the winds screaming call.
Just inches away from a 4,000 foot fall.
Just inches away from my first parachute jump.
I looked down. My eyes blurred. My palms moistened. Fright drained the saliva from my mouth. I was about to learn a significant leadership lesson in overcoming fear. Sweat trickled down my forehead. Wind flooded my face.
Plunging, plummeting, toppling and tumbling, I fell 242 feet in four seconds. Suddenly, the screaming air quieted. The roaring engine faded.
My fearful, tearful eyes opened in awe wonder and majesty. I looked up and there it was: the most beautiful flower I have ever seen blossoming in the sky.
My canopy opened like a 32-foot wide tulip petal blossoming atop the 20-foot tall stem of harness rope. It was:
so silent ….
Whispering in God’s Ear
I felt that I could almost whisper in God’s ear. As I dangled from that 40-pound pack of cloth — like a puppet on string — I looked down some 3,000 feet below me. The utility poles looked like toothpicks.
The river looked like a thick black ribbon. The field looked like a huge patchwork quilt. I pulled the turn toggles and made like a human top spinning around to enjoy the panorama. I had the world literally at my feet.
Suddenly, the ground below started rushing up toward me.
Suddenly, the utility poles looked like redwood trees.
Suddenly, the river looked like a huge table cloth.
Suddenly, the horizon began to explode out of the ground.
I hit the ground with a sobering thud. Stunned. I sad in the middle of a cornfield and wondered if I were dead.
Stunned, I lunged for my 10-inch high boots and wondered if those boots were still attached to my feet. I wondered if my feet were still attached to me.
From Fear to Cheer
Relieved. A smile washed across my face. From fear to cheer. From 4,000 feet to my own two feet. From fright to insight. I didn’t die. I was born. Born with an exhilaration for life –a life more invigorating, a life that gets a jump on fear.
My first parachute jump taught me an important leadership lesson: where you stand on an issue often depends on where you sit.
After all, what a difference a few seconds and a different vantage point make. From my perch looking down, I was Mr. Fright. Then a few seconds later looking up at the fully deployed parachute, I was Mr. Flight. Or even Mr. Fight.
Now when I confront a problem, I try not to let the present circumstances overwhelm me. I try to think strategically from other points of view, particularly from the view directly opposite.
Things do look a lot different from that 180-degree perspective. The problem might be solved cheaper, better, faster from that opposite angle from the one you are used to focusing on. And you just might get a jump on your fear.
Parlay your sense of perspective
to keep your leadership skills in mint condition.
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