We're now two months into 2013... how crazy is that? It's amazing how time flies. I remember writing my thoughts on the Outlook for The Start of Happiness in 2013 and it seems like yesterday! Around this time, our flagship program 'Change Your Life' was launched and in the past 2 months this has helped hundreds of people elicit their passions, set goals they will be actually work towards and achieve and has enabled them to find meaning in their lives. If you haven't already, I highly encourage you to take action and check it out.Another thing I mentioned was that videos were on the cards for this year. I'm pleased to say that last weekend I bought myself a new camera and you will be seeing me live in action in the coming weeks! I look forward to taking this to the next level with you. I've also got some exciting projects lined up here but I'll let you in on this in the near future.But today's post links to another focus area for 2013. We want to bring in real life case studies and examples of people doing things that are changing their lives. I was super-excited when I heard from Orrin Hastings, a fellow Sydney-sider who writes about working less and living more at Rebreezer. He had just had a life-changing experience with some great outtakes to share.I'm happy to introduce you to Orrin who will share his experience today. Take it away Orrin!
This is the story of how jumping from a plane gave me the courage to completely change my life direction... and perhaps not in the way you might imagine.
After finishing my studies, I stepped out to the other side really unsure about what direction I wanted to take with my life. I'd had a taste of a "real" job and I really wasn't keen to get back into it. I wanted to try something new. Really, I wanted to head out and live internationally, support myself independently and live a happy life full of exciting and interesting things. But well... that's a pretty terrifying concept. There's so much that could go wrong and who knows where I'd end up?
Then Along Came Skydiving
It was around this time that my little sister suggested we take a skydiving course together. It was exactly what I was looking for: thrilling, interesting and a nice little distraction from my internal-life-direction-turmoil.
So I signed up.
It really was absolutely everything I'd hoped and much, much more. I'd been taken from entirely inexperienced to jumping solo with 15 skydives spread over a month. It was thrilling and exciting but there was something much more important which I took away from it: A realisation on building the courage and surety to take on risks and face challenges. Skydiving showed me importance of identifying the paths back to safety for any challenge.
Of course, I was nervous while jumping, that was coming from the thrill of doing something new and exhilarating but otherwise, I was filled with confidence and surety. I felt supremely confident in my return safety. From everything I'd heard and read on skydiving, I knew it was a very safe hobby. Parachute failure rates are tiny, there's a machine-packed reserve backup parachute with an even lower failure rate and all parachutes are fitted with a device to automatically deploy if they see you've gone too low. And then the introductory course had drilled in all the safety routines.
Skydiving is incredibly safe.
Even if things went wrong, I was prepared to handle them. There are no unanswered what-if scenarios in skydiving. My way out is strapped to my back and the routines had been drilled into my brain. I was free to relax and enjoy the ride, knowing I'd be safe.
I was plunging myself into an exciting uncertainty but I was sure of my safety nets and of my way back to safety. And that was what it took to give me the courage and to make me feel confident while taking on such a big challenge.
Putting Other Risks in Perspective
And this holds true for all challenges in all areas of life. It's the unasked and unanswered what-ifs that make a big decision or a new challenge scary. It's the fear of the unknown and potentially bad consequences that keep us hesitating and stop us from getting started.
I looked at my other big "what I want to do" challenges and I started to define what the big bad what-if situations could be. Once I'd started defining what could go wrong, I was quickly able to see that there was almost always a really simple path straight back to safety.For every dramatic what-if scenario, my irrational and unfounded fears were quickly quelled.
Now whenever I see a new challenge I want to take on, I follow 4 step procedure:
Work out different scenarios of what can go wrong
Define my safety nets: how will I get back to safety for these scenarios?
Realise how little actual risk is involved
Get out there, do it and enjoy it
So it was less than a month after finishing the skydiving course that I did what I'd been wanting to do since graduating. I packed my life into a small backpack and moved to Hamburg, Germany, planning to stay for 6 months and test my metal in setting up a new life in a foreign country.
This was a pretty terrifying endeavour but I'd put things into perspective. I'd organised my reserve parachutes, my paths back to safety and I knew that if something went wrong I'd be prepared to handle it. If everything went completely awry, I knew I'd be able to buy a ticket home on credit. In the meantime, there were adventures to be had and I'll be damned if a little risk is going to stop me having them!
Identifying Your Safety Nets
It wasn't until I had my safety nets waggled right under my eyes while skydiving that I was then able to start looking a little deeper at the other safety nets in the world around me.
We're lucky enough to live in a world of countless safety nets.
There are too many things we fail to do because we fantasize about everything that could go wrong without properly defining it and putting it back into perspective.
In reality, we have the reserves and back ups to give us the peace of mind to step out into the world and make the most of it. There's no need to throw yourself out of a plane (although I would highly recommend it...), just start taking a big step back from the challenges you want to take, define what can go wrong and then find your paths back to safety.
Once you know how you'll recover from things going wrong, you'll see how small those risks become and you'll be able to get started.
Orrin Hastings writes about working less and living more at Rebreezer.