UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATIONS: DOORWAY TO REWARDING EXPERIENCES

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HOW DO YOU GO WHEN YOUR STRESSED?

Life's rewarding experiences comes from our desires aspirations and wants and our method to achieve them. Do you remember when you first learned to ride a bike? When you first were handed your divers license, when you want to your first job interview? When you made your first overseas trip without your parents? All of them had associated risk, all had moments that were stressful, all of them provided lots of rewards and benefits.

We all go through different types of stresses in our life. The way we manage those stresses and the tools and resources that we draw upon to come out the other side is what determines if we are going to finish with a rewarding experience.

I am a father a husband, a business owner and a person trying to maintain health and wellness. We all deal with stresses in different ways. Having participated in skydiving for the past twenty four years dealing with stress and fear to the point of being able to smile through it has been a huge learning experience. Most of the learning has come from realising what humans are capable of. Developing a business that employs staff to jump out of a plane with a total stranger who has no idea about skydiving and guarantee a fun and exhilarating outcome has taught me a lot.

Finding the energy everyday no matter your mood, no matter how well you slept, no matter what is happening in your life and delivering a service around safety required a fool proof methodology. It is because of this thinking that has given me the richest and most rewarding experiences.

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Its funny, people look at those that skydive as carefree, fly by the seat of your pants, thrill seekers. Now while this is true to an extent, it's not because there is an aspect of chance in our potential survival that creates a euphoric neurological response. It is about having a repeatable sequence of skills that open the doorways to experience things that a lot of people would not even consider.  It's through following the same sequence every time in a manner that "we don't miss a trick" which will make us “old” skydivers and not “bold” skydivers.

The Australian Parachute Federation is an organisation that I have worked with over the past twenty five years. Since their inception, they have been working and continually upgrading safety and training principles around essential knowledge, skills attained and ensuring minimum standards are achieved prior to execution of those skills. They have created a mandatory manual the "operational regulations" supported by other relevant publications which creates procedures and rules to keep skydivers safe through an innovative methodology designed through best practice procedures. Eight thousand jumps later and twenty five years on  I have never even broken a bone skydiving.

Question: 

How does living this lifestyle and being a part of the Skydiving community effect the rest of my life?

ANSWER:

IT TEACHES ME TO KNOW & TRUST MYSELF

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“Most of the people I train are ultimately are adventure seekers . These highly enthusiastic people want to dive headfirst into life and experience it in many different facets and fashions as possible. The thought of getting stuck in a monotonous routine or situation is paralysing to them. They can think of nothing worse than having their lives stay the same indefinitely.”

The question becomes how do we dive head first into life and continue to do so having rich and rewarding experiences. The crazy thing is that it is through repetition and a monotonous routine that unlocks some of the most epic human experiences, particularly in extreme sports.

Aspects of the routine.

Whether you are learning to ride your bike, sitting a driving license test or preparing for your first job interview, how do we prepare ourselves to deliver the result we are after?

Let's think about the process that Skydivers, scuba divers rock climbers surfers, parkour athletes use:

1. Methodology.

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Having been involved in teaching skydiving but also involved in delivering various business workshops around driving results, teams and performance, I find keeping it simple and having a sequence of well thought out steps is the key. The Australian Parachute Federation over the past fifty years have been improving sequences of steps in skill acquisition and execution to be followed in order to promote participation from all walks of life.

Examples of sequences developed include:

Time Awareness Counts:

executed by the user to use mental awareness to determinate constraints to make decisions.

Emergency Procedures

executed by the user to calmly deal with stress, understand all th possibilities of what can go wrong with a simple procedure to resolve each and every one of them.

Canopy Checks

executed by the user when undergoing stress identifying a finite number of components in that situation and be able to correctly initiate the appropriate response. 

The course we run is six hours to get you TRAINED FOR YOUR FIRST JUMP and twenty jumps over a week to ACHIEVE YOU SKYDIVE SOLO SPORTING LICENSE.

2. Equipment

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If you don't service your car, boat or lawn mower or any other mechanical device on a regular basis- what is the outcome? Its probably not going to function as well over time. It may function immediately. Lets remove any doubt through elimination. Service and know your equipment is in its best condition. Do you know that the majority of reasons why things go wrong is not because of equipment failure, Its because of bad decisions, not following procedure and not responding in the right sequence. When we ride our bikes, drive our cars cars or even fly planes, there is a sequence of things that we need to complete in order to adequately ensure the tools we use are in good working order minimising the chance of mishap. This is the same in the sport of skydiving including the mental practice and procedures using those tools if things go wrong giving the right outcome.

3. Stress Management

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IMAGE COURTESY OF AUSTRALIAN PARACHUTE FEDERATION PARACHUTE INSTRUCTOR MANUAL

When confronted with an overwhelming situation, it usually triggered by stress causing anxiety and fear. People can lose clarity and effective decision making can become limited. In extreme circumstances, it is possible for the effected person to freeze, lose control and worse case scenario, they go into shock. We all deal with stress differently.

question: Can you program yourself to deal with stress well?

Answer: Simply, yes.

There is absolutely no difference between any of us except our genetic make up and the experiences we have had. The proof is that I don't like taking unnecessary risks, I don't support irresponsible behaviour, I am a husband a father and a brother. I am a person that wants to squeeze every once out of life and live fulfilled. Understanding fear and what creates stress and more importantly how I deal with stress and the way I respond is an important aspect of self awareness.

If you learn to deal with stress in a controlled environment often it does help with dealing with the stresses we never expected.

Get rid of the "WHAT IF'S" !

This starts with self confidence and trusting yourself. Its about the concept of being “Alone & Responsible” and being able to bring home a result. Talking to many different people, a common theme is "What if "this" happens" or "What if "that" happens" They get in their own way to achieve what they truly wants.

Confidence and trust comes from proof of your ability. In any of the talks that I give it is aways about developing three things:

  1. Training and Qualifications

  2. Track Record

  3. Personal /Commercial identity

That proves you are capable. Its why we go to kindergarten, primary and high school to give us life skills, why we  undertake tertiary education or take on a trade. Its why we do research to fulfil our personal ambitions.  Working out every possible scenario that may occur in an event positive and negative and know how to deal with them is what allows you to make best of every situation. Think of the process to get a car license these days- You have to qualify for a license, you have to have a track record of driving in all conditions and then you are deemed a person that is skilled and capable to drive unassisted.

It is through a results based lead up to understanding situations, being able to execute skills  that leads to outcomes we are after.

I remember the first time I did a skydive landing in the Melbourne Cricket Ground the Mecca for Australian Sport enthusiasts. Host of the Olympics, Commonwealth games and countless Grand Final Football matches. Its a venue requiring a highly technical parachute landing which causes realistic and associated stresses before the event.

Qualification required:

  1. APF Certificate Class F

  2. APF Display Pro Certificate

  3. APF Licensed Display Organiser Endorsement

  4. APF Drop Zone Safety Officer Endorsement

 

Track record required:

  1. 1000 documented skydive descents

  2. Completed a number of parachute landing at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with and without a crowd being in attendance

  3. Organized a minimum number of similar events in the previous twelbve months

Commercial identity

  1. Recognised and approved by the Australian Parachute Federation

  2. Recognised and approved by the Victorian/ Tasmanian Parachute Council

  3. Recognised and approved by Melbourne Cricket Club Management

After all of this, it the confidence in your ability to do the job. Not thinking about the "what ifs" such as  "what if I miss the MCG", "what if I hit the Southern Stand", "what if I hit a light tower?". We don't ask these questiosn when we are passing obstacles on the side of the road when driving a car. Its about changing your perspective and realising you have the skills for the task. The process for me is clear your mind, believe in your ability be confident, clear your mind, make it happen.

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Walking your walk & Celebrating your journey

Putting Parts 1-4 of the process to deal with uncomfortable situations to open the doorway to rewarding experiences will help change the way tyou approach life and the corresponding outcomes.

We all are confident, successful people always driving to be better with a will to learn more and have more rewarding experiences.  How will you wake up in the morning if you fine tune your methodology, have the best tools to complete any task and understand how to deal with those stresses that always turn up and have more wins each day?

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