I was in New Zealand for two weeks by myself. I’d only planned my five week adventure Down Under as far as my travel arrangements and transportation, the rest I left up to local concierges and guides. This is just how I roll. I don’t read guidebooks, GPS myself into the ground, or have a list of must sees. I like to experience what any given destination is known for according to the locals in the know. This can have unexpected results.
When I landed, I asked what New Zealand was best known for. Of course, I’d heard about the natural beauty, I was aware of the many films made there capitalizing on that, that was too obvious. Much to my surprise, the concierge said “New Zealand is the land of extreme sports.” Uh oh, I was about as athletic as a wet noodle. My idea of sports was a rare gym workout or maybe a long walk (which my trainer compared to falling forward, OUCH!)
My surprise turned into momentary dread when the concierge continued to tell me that the ORIGINAL BUNGEE JUMP was right here in Queenstown. Now I had a choice, I could play it safe, protest that wasn’t for me and do something expected and usual or I could step up and go for it. I chose to go for it and booked bungee jumping for the following day.
I don’t do anything by halves, this was the ORIGINAL BUNGEE JUMP. It is 440 feet straight down into a dry river bed ravine from a small metal box, that holds a dozen people, supported by four taut metal cables and nothing more. I was the only solo jumper as everyone else had friends or family with them, this was to my advantage. Much of our fear is created and fueled by others this was a perfect case in point. As the other jumpers watched their loved ones bungee, their fear grew exponentially, while I simply chose to look out the backside of the metal box at the dry scrub brush and jack rabbits.
At last it was my turn. The guy in charge called my name, gave me the once over and informed me I needed to change my shoes. Huh? I didn’t have other shoes with me and I don’t bowl or ice skate because I simply don’t wear strange people’s shoes. And then he explained it to me.
He said “there is going to be a bungee cord around your ankles, you are wearing slip ons,” I stopped him there the picture becoming very clear and borrowed a pair of shoes. I hadn’t come this far to quit.
As I got to the edge of the metal box, the bungee cord around my ankles, and I stood ready for a perfect swan dive, they began the count down. Ten, nine, eight, seven, WHAMMO, I jumped on seven.
I blacked out for the first seven seconds. So much for not being afraid, my body being wiser than my mind simply shut itself down. Of course, it could have been all the blood rushing to my head also! I opened my eyes and was bouncing up.
All I could remember was the directions I’d been given “get into a seated position or the pressure from the jump could force your eyeballs out of your head.” YIKES! I needed my eyeballs so I pulled the rip cord. Damn, my right leg shot up over my head, tangled somehow in the cord. In extreme discomfort I was entirely focused on getting untangled and seconds later found myself back up in the little metal box.
That was it? What was all the fuss about? They asked how it was and insisted that I hadn’t waited for the countdown. I grinned and said “I’m not stupid, that’s the scary part.” And it is. It is the looking before you leap that will stop you every time. Step forward in faith.
The only way you are ever going to get where you want to go in life, in business, in relationships, in health, and oh just in anything you do is to close your eyes and step forward in faith. When you spend all of your time looking at that monumental step you want to take instead of taking it, the fear you realize will stop you cold.
YOUR TURN! Tell me about a time in your life when you saw the fear and stepped forward in faith. I reply to all comments and love to hear from you.