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Parachuting From Fright to Insight

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.

       Wrestling,  against that 80-mile-an-hour wind,  I struggled to fling my legs out the side of the single engine airplane.  I planted my toe on the 3-inch wide step. And let go.

        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 peaceful…
so placid…
so pacific…
so soothing…
so serene….
so silent ….
so hushed.

        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.
Suddenly, SLAM!

         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.

Today’s ImproveMINT

  Parlay your sense of perspective
to keep your leadership skills in mint condition.

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2 Responses

  1. […] Parachuting from Fright to Insight Yabba Dabba Doo on Monday Mornings Too Seasoning Your Age With Sage Success: You’re Richer Than You Think You Are […]

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