Are you ready for a leap of faith?

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My first skydive from 13,000 feet was a total team effort: Dan was my captain and world record holder Kevin was my cheerleader. We posed mid-air at 10,000 feet.

My part was easy. While dropping from the sky at 120 miles per hour, I placed my faith in the Skydive Twin Cities team to make sure we didn’t need a spatula to finish the story.  As my wife, son and daughter watched from the ground…it occurred to me my life is fully dependent upon others.

Twenty years ago, while celebrating my 30th birthday I was energized by the idea of skydiving to mark the milestone. My wife Melinda intervened: “You have two little kids and not enough life insurance,” she reasoned. As I calculated how to back out on my buddies, she added: “maybe when you’re 50.”

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Specially-abled (one arm) skydiving champion Kevin Burkart helped us arrange my bucket list experience.

On my 50th birthday, Melinda gave me a skydiving gift certificate. She had faith in our friend Kevin Burkart that gave me the courage to take the leap: Kevin is an amazingly gifted athlete and the world record holder for specially-abled skydiving. If Kevin can soar with one arm…then surely I can survive a woosie tandem jump!

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This bird’s eye picture was taken by photographer Bernie, while Kevin (in red) Dan and I sat perched in the open door…13,000 feet off the ground.

 

 

 

 

As the altimeter signaled 13,000 feet, Kevin and I absorbed this leadership message: “Does anything significant ever happen alone?” Pilot Chase held the plane steady while Bernie the photographer threw the door open. Dan buckled me to his chest, while faith mentor Kevin reminded me this was a good start on my bucket list. What are friends for?

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Racing toward the ground at 120 miles per hour, totally dependent upon Dave Porta.

The moment of truth is anything but peaceful: at 120 miles per hour the wind is loud as a freight train and violent as a tornado. The wind forces your mouth open, even if you didn’t want to smile. Kevin soared in from above, resting to my right as “Bernie” snapped pictures and recorded HD video – Dan anchored our choreography. What a thrill!

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It felt great to know the parachute opened as advertised…can you see Kevin flying in the background?

We fell 7000 feet in one minute. It never occurred to me the parachute could fail. I could see the Minneapolis skyline 45 miles away as we soared across the horizon. The five minute joy ride to earth was worth the wait.

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Another win for the team. Will I have to wait 20 more years to skydive again?

Fear has a lot to do with feeling alone…and it’s worse when you’re not able to trust the expertise of the people around you. In that way, my first skydiving adventure wasn’t a leap of faith at all.

Good leaders make a habit of surrounding themselves with good people who help us reach our dreams.  And we put our trust in others when taking a leap of faith.

What leap of faith are you preparing to take…and who is helping you?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

8 Comments

  1. Kevin Burkart on September 24, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Great flying with you Paul congratulations!



  2. Kevin Burkart on September 24, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Great flying with you Paul congratulations!



  3. Anonymous on September 24, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    As with everything in life: it’s good to have a great mentor



  4. paulbatz on September 24, 2013 at 8:23 am

    As with everything in life: it’s good to have a great mentor



  5. Tom Schaber on September 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Having made both static line and free fall jumps in the Army I know what the thrill feels like. There are few things like the rush when you exit the door. Congratulations! What’s next?



  6. Tom Schaber on September 24, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Having made both static line and free fall jumps in the Army I know what the thrill feels like. There are few things like the rush when you exit the door. Congratulations! What’s next?



  7. Larry Spears on September 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    I love reading your columns, Paul. You are a fine writer.



  8. Larry Spears on September 24, 2013 at 8:47 am

    I love reading your columns, Paul. You are a fine writer.



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