Tuesday, August 16, 2011

10,000 Feet of Confidence

I am fortunate enough to say I’ve had a once-in-a-lifetime-experience, not once, but twice.  Five years ago I went tandem skydiving in Newport, Rhode Island.  A couple weeks ago, in a spur of the moment plan,  I went back for my second jump. 
Whoever said you never forget your first was lying.  I totally blacked out the first couple seconds of the free fall starting when I was pushed moved towards the open plane door.  I’m pretty sure some internal defense mechanism took over and it was my mind’s way of keeping conscious me from realizing I was falling out of a plane.  I’ve been told I screamed like a five year old but on the plus side I did not pee my pants.  A big wet spot on my jumpsuit would’ve completely ruined the landing photo I shelled out $25 for.
My second jump was light years better.  I actually wanted to be the first one out of the plane.  I clearly remember the door of the plane opening, the rush of the air hitting, and stepping out on to the ledge.  As we exited, one “oh my god” slipped out of my mouth just as the sensation of NOTHING being connected to your body took over.  Then it was one big, wind-blown smile the rest of the way down as I enjoyed the best view of Newport there is.
Falling 10,000 feet out of the sky on your own free will takes some major lady balls.  Or is completely insane, if you ask my mom.   But in return I gained 10,000 feet of confidence which anyone could stand to benefit from every now and again.  Skydiving is my constant.  The thing to compare the rest of life against whenever self-doubt appears.  I’ll have conversations with myself:

 “Amanda, you jumped out of a freaking plane.  Go do all your glute bridge sets in the middle of a crowded gym.  Who the hell cares if it kinda looks like you’re humping air when you do them?”

“Really?  You’re nervous about public speaking in a health seminar but you have no problems jumping out of a plane with some dude you just met attached to your back?”
What is absolutely remarkable about you?  Have you accomplished something not many other people can say they have?  Maybe you were picked out of a dozen strong candidates for a promotion at work because of your kick ass track record.  You might be a stay-at-home-mom raising a loving, respectful child to be a productive part of society.  Maybe you can deadlift two times your body weight.

Whatever it may be, use it when you’re faced with a challenge.  What’s more difficult?  Working your way up from an intern to a corner office with a view or exercising for 30 minutes?  What about teaching your kids their ABC’s compared to replacing dessert with a piece of fruit?  Deadlifting an impressive amount of weight versus waiting until the weekend to watch your favorite show so you can get a full night’s sleep?
You get the idea.  There is something you currently do that is truly amazing and will put the rest of your challenges in perspective.  Put that confidence towards the other tasks that overwhelm you, but in reality are not nearly as significant.  And if for some odd reason you can’t think of anything that is great about you, I highly recommend visiting Skydive Newport. ;-)

Taking off
Me floating through the sky after the free fall

Kinda what it looks like on the way down

Coming in for the landing

Cool, calm, and collected

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