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Leap of Faith

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How many times when you’re in a meeting or group session filled with people you might not necessarily know very well, do you get asked to introduce yourself by giving an interesting fact?

I was recently in this situation, and I don’t know about you but my mind mostly goes blank.  Every interesting fact about myself completely evaporates – a bit like a comedian being asked to say something funny when they’re not expecting it.

If I could go back to that meeting, here’s the fact that I would give. 

About 13 years ago, I took a Sky Diving course….(I know I should have picked something easy like tiddlywinks right…)

I’m certainly no ‘Sport Billy’ and there was no rhyme or reason to it, but off I went to the airfield at Langar in Nottinghamshire, and started the theory at the ground school there.

This was a fairly technical part of the course, introducing everyone to airspeed, wind direction, and altitude awareness, as well as body positioning.

I did OK, met a few people in the same position as me, and obviously apprehension was at the front of my mind.  But I began to think… yeah, I can do this…

The next part of the course involved exiting a staged aeroplane door and practicing the landing, so in a cross between a classic war film and a film made about a bunch of early twenty somethings in shell suits being egged on by their mates to jump off a garage roof, we all took a turn to jump and land safely.

Having got all of the grounding and basics in place, it was time go away and practice a few times on the ground, and believe me I practiced!

The first jump involves having two instructors side by side of you, one outside of the plane and the other inside. You make two dummy moves to jump and then on the third, all three of you exit.

The day arrived for the first solo jump.  It was a Sunday, the weather was OK, and the jump was on.  Tremendous.

We all got kitted up, and as I made my way to the plane I started the cold sweats, even more so than I had done the night before…

In the plane on the way up to the jump altitude of around 13,000 feet, I started to see some of the more experienced sky divers close their eyes.

Now this wasn’t because they were afraid, but because they were running through in their mind what was going to happen and what they were going to do; a sort of mental practice.

When we reached the jump altitude everything started to happen very quickly.  Everyone was moving, my adrenalin started to kick in, and my mind started to panic.

As I approached the door though, I fell back to the default groove of the training I’d received, and within what felt like hours (but was actually seconds) I had exited the plane.

The first moments afterwards were a mix of emotions of confusion, and, well (there’s no other word for it)… plummeting.

Eventually I levelled off and thankfully the two instructors grabbing on to each of my arms as I left the plane were still there.

The instructors made sure I stayed on course and that my positional balance was correct. After we floated around for a while, we broke off and I managed to pull the rip cord which thankfully opened the parachute!

So what is the point to all of this? Well I guess it’s about making a “Leap of Faith”…

Sometimes we have to believe in something so blindly that on the surface it just doesn’t make sense and is way out of our comfort zone.

When new technology comes along like Windows 8.1, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, or Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2, you can get the same cold sweat feelings; the functionality is different, the UI (User Interface) is just alien to what you are used to.

But with a leap of faith like I had, a trusted instructor / partner, and practice, a whole new world can open to you.   

And it’s actually really exciting once you get yourself into that mentality – you’ll be amazed at how far you can go and what you can do, especially when working with an expert.

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