Earlier this year I was talked into signing up for a charity skydive by a so-called friend.
A lifetime of rubbish balance and even worse coordination has left me petrified of edges (and falling off them at great heights), so panic set in with immediate effect. My friend was equally enthused about the whole experience, and by the time the day of the jump came around we’d worked ourselves up into a state of minor hysterics (the British stiff upper lip was conspicuous in its absence).
We spent the morning moping around the airfield in a state of terror, waiting for news of when we were going to jump (and dwelling on the stupidity of jumping out of a perfectly decent plane). Therefore, I think we can safely say that we were both not-so-secretly thrilled to be told that we wouldn’t be allowed to jump that day because it was too cloudy.
Thankful for the vagaries of the British weather, we booked ourselves in for another attempt the following month, and headed on home with joy in our hearts at having avoided a near-death experience.
The next time we headed out to the airfield, we were terrified to note the brilliant blue of the cloudless sky. We were going to have to face our fears and climb into that plane, only to be thrown out again at thirteen thousand feet. We spent the morning terrified, dreading the moment when we would be called to get ready to go.
Finally our names were called, and we trudged our way through to reception with all the enthusiasm of a convict heading to death row. Having shimmied into our very fetching jumpsuits, we’d just about resigned ourselves to the fact that we were actually going to have to do this when we were told to hang fire. Apparently today it was too windy.
At this point I was feeling somewhat like Goldilocks (‘too cloudy, ‘too windy’), and I realised that my mindset had shifted. I was no longer feeling too terrified to jump and thinking of ways to avoid it (was I nauseous? Maybe I was too sick to jump…) Instead, I was feeling determined to crack on and fall out of a plane, despite the weather’s best efforts to stop me!
Now admittedly, this shift in my mindset towards skydiving happened due to external factors. But I still felt the power of that shift, and realised how a conscious shift of mindset could allow me to make positive changes in my behaviour. If a change of mindset could stop a wuss like me from hiding in the toilets when my turn came to skydive, then surely this is something that we can all use positively in our personal and working lives.
For anyone who was wondering, I did eventually get to go up in the plane (third time lucky) and jump out. Despite my new-found determination to get on and do it triumphing over my perfectly rational fear, I still hated every moment of the experience. But I did it, thanks to my mindset, and that’s what matters here.