07/15/2015 12:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Skydiving and Entrepreneurship: Why They Aren't As Different As One May Think


I was paralyzed, I felt like my body weighed 1000 pounds. My legs dangled out the airplane door, 12,000 feet over Auckland, the hum of the engine in my ear, strapped to a parachute I hoped to God would prevent me from plummeting to my death, my heart beating uncontrollably in my chest, then in the blink of an eye, I was falling (and screaming), the safety of the airplane now a distant memory. Less than a minute later, after free falling through the air, opening my parachute and then gracefully (mostly) landing back on mother earth I was on fire and high on adrenaline!

Why do I share with you my story about skydiving? Simple, those 3 seconds before I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane were when the fear in my head and in my soul was deafening. That was the moment that I could have chosen to tell the pilot to forget it and turn around. However, this was the time when I needed less than 20 seconds of insane courage to get to the point of feeling the biggest rush of my life allowing me to have one of the best experiences to date. Those 20 seconds were the turning point, to go all in or stay in my comfort zone, the turning point we must all face at some point in our lives. Most entrepreneurs are not jumping out of airplanes but the feeling is the same when you venture out on your own. Here is what I have learned that I hope will help you navigate the twists and turns of setting out on your own.

The moment right before you make the decision to build something of your own or launch an idea is the hardest. These moments leading up will test you in ways you did not think possible. It is important to not let a few seconds of fear, self-judgement, or "what ifs" derail you. You do not need to jump out of the airplane just yet but you do need to take a few steps to get on board.

We must all suit up and have impenetrable armor. When you make the decision to break out from the herd, the arrows, bombs, and sabotage will start flying from the most unexpected places. If you want to know who your true friends are, start a business and ask them to support you. I am not saying that it will always be an uphill battle, however, do not be surprised when people start projecting their fears, limitations, and opinions on you without your consent. Stay the course, continue to ascend and don't stop until you get there.

Find your biggest fans - you know the people I am talking about. The ones that believe in you when you forget to believe in yourself. The ones whose eyes sparkle when you talk about your dreams. The people who build you up, whom you can bounce ideas off of, and above all else they lend you a helping hand when you are stuck in the mire or go down the inevitable rabbit hole of self-doubt. Surround yourself with those people, they are your first line of defense. They are the people that will help you achieve success faster than almost anything else, because faith in yourself and your dream is the magic ingredient to attaining your vision.

Find a mentor - someone smarter, more successful, someone who has done it before. Find someone you admire and who has been in your shoes and shamelessly pick their brain. You don't need to be Steve Jobs or Elizabeth Holmes, you need to be yourself, but I guarantee that the mentors you choose learned lessons that will be critical to your success which you can put into action. The motto I live by and tell my clients to adopt is simple: find the smartest people you know and soak up as much as you can to help you get where you are going. Success is not an island, it is an intricate puzzle made up of courage, experience, success, pivot points, and vision. Bottom line: remember that you are the sum total of the 5 people you surround yourself with most, so set your standards accordingly!

Lastly, work harder on yourself than on your business or idea. You will only have the success you are ready for and at some point if you do not become a life long learner, your success will plateau and potentially go backwards. When you are able to be flexible, pivot, grow, adapt, and expand, your success will mimic that and grow with you - make sure there is space in your life for the success you are working towards!

Thinking about taking the leap of faith? If you want to dive deeper to see what it really takes, this is for you: 10 questions to ask yourself.

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If you are in ATX I am doing a workshop for SheSaysATX at Capital Factory at the end of this month. Click here for tickets!

Now dig deep and find those 20 seconds of insane bravery and JUMP! Have a wonderful week everyone!