We are in continuous development since we were born. What helps me the most is when I find good advice to follow. Usually, it helps me to face present challenges, and sometimes it runs so well that I use it in my life for good. Most people ignore advice, but we are skydivers. We do not disregard advice. If we do, we might not last long enough in the sport. I want to share useful pieces of advice that helped me improve myself, that’s why I picked this topic today.
Remember: “When you hear a good advice, you should always do two things: take it in and pass it on” Unknown.
Be patient and persistent.
When I was living in California, I made an excellent friend. Everyone calls him Doctor Mike. He and I have done at least 800 jumps together and had lots of fun. However, that was the beginning of my skydiving path. I was just starting to jump and learning how to free fly. I don’t even know how many times we talked about how cool it would be when we could fly head down and play with the cool kids of the drop zone. I’m quite sure everyone had this chat at some point.
It took me two years and lots of jumps, coaching, and tunnel time to feel ready to jump with that more experienced group. Of course, a few of them jumped with me once in a while, but it wasn’t the same. My friend and I wanted to be part of the team and be as good as they were. Mike and I did lots of jumps, coaching, we went to iFly Utah, and eventually, we were able to fly with them, be safe and in the jump.
Skydivers need lots of patience and persistence. It’s hard to see our own progress. However, we will get there. Hard work always pays off.
Are you ready to be happy?
As usual, we always want more, and what we have is never enough. That is what I feel most of the time. Thus, I learned that we need to celebrate our achievements and never forget or diminish them.
Are you ready to be happy is a fundamental question because it makes us live in the present. We need to be proud of who we are and what we can do now. Living in the past, complaining about the things we could have done doesn’t work, neither living in the future waiting for a better self that will never exist in the present.
So, make this question to yourself and answer it honestly: Are you ready to be happy?
We do it for fun.
Everyone knows that we skydive to have fun, right? Yes, I think so. However, sometimes I forget that. I forget that I’m jumping from an airplane to have a good time, and this anxiety takes control, and the fun goes away, and a grumpy mood takes control. We need to be serious and secure in the sky, do gear checks, stay focused on the jump… but we also need to relax. Otherwise, we can’t enjoy it.
We need to try new things, fly with new people, learn new stuff. That is a fact. We all want to develop more skills and fly better and better. Yet, we need to find a way of doing it, enjoying the moment.
When I’m doing something super complex that demands lots of attention and can bring others danger, I stop enjoying the moment. My focus mode kicks in. That is good; however, it makes my entire day horrible because of the pressure I feel on my shoulders. I need to be focused and ready to perform as well as possible, but I also need to be calm to “just fly.” I can’t lose control of my body; the entire plan depends on people doing what they are supposed to do.
The breathing exercise is the best advice I got to distress my body and mind but still be focused on what needs to be done. What I do is breathing calmly before the exit and also after exiting the plane. I do it consciously. Even though I can’t focus on my breathing the entire jump, breathing gives me patience and calm. It helps my actions to be safer and more assertive, avoiding wasting time or creating issues in the jump.
Easy skydive plan
I feel much more comfortable and relax when I’m flying positions I’m confident with. You might be thinking, why would you be stressed doing something you know how to do it. Well, that is precisely my point of view. Positions or dive plans I’m good at give me more security and tranquility. In this scenario, I have more time to think about minor corrections, other skydivers, breathing, and how to be one step ahead.
Coming back to “we do it for fun,” an easy skydiving plan helps us enjoy our sport even more. We all want to achieve great things, but everything big starts small.
Trust your instincts.
Instincts are powerful in skydiving. I always try to be aware of them and not be afraid to stop or get out of something if I feel something is wrong. This year I had the chance to make a hot air balloon jump. If you haven’t done one yet, do it, it is AMAZING. So, you can see how much I like the feeling of jumping from a hot air balloon. However, I didn’t feel it. It was my friend’s birthday, and he invited me to jump with him and other friends. I was super excited and wanted to go, but something wasn’t right.
Before thinking about it properly, I said no to my friend’s invitation. I wasn’t feeling it. Later on, I was thinking about the reasons I wasn’t feeling good about that adventure.
- The landing area would be a surprise for me.
- The weather was a little shitty;
- There wasn’t anyone more experienced than me in that jump or around our group;
- I didn’t know anyone who jumped from that hot air balloon before;
The result was a small accident with one of my friends during the landing. I was super sad about the accident, worried about his health, but relieved I didn’t have to go through that myself.
Some people believe that when you quit, you fail. Sometimes, when you quit, you survive. Be smart!
Use adversity as an opportunity.
We are a big family. True. However, doors are not always open. When I started skydiving, I didn’t know anything about this fantastic skydiving community around the world. For most of my skydiving journey, I was welcomed everywhere and supported by everyone. Still, sometimes I think differently from others, and adverse situations can occur.
The most significant example I have to share with you is when I asked for skydiving sponsorship for the first time. I have to say, I was brand new in the sport, and I didn’t have any clue about the industry and the hard work behind all sponsored athletes. I just thought I would be an excellent fit for a jumpsuit brand because I was building a great online community on social media.
I sent the company an email explaining my work. With it, I added a presentation with data, information, and a personal letter. However, the answer was: – No, thanks! We do not need you. They throw cold water on my dreams, and I was sad and frustrated. I thought, why should I accept that. So, I decided to design my jumpsuit. The partnership with Rebecca (Davis, CA) was terrific, and we created the first Colorful Skydiving Jumpsuit. Later on, I launched the Colorful Jerseys (thanks to Kristen and Ana for helping me with it in the USA).
Anyway, the cool thing about it is that I created an opportunity from adversity. Nowadays, I’m sponsored by LB Altimeters, UPT Vector, GoPro, Cypres AAD, Vertigen Jumpsuits, Skullcandy, VonZipper, Rider Sandals, and Colorful Jerseys. I’m very grateful for the trust and support these amazing people give to me. It’s always good to be part of such spectacular teams.
Learn from mistakes.
This is not only a piece of advice; it is something that keeps me alive and jumping from airplanes day after day. There are two things here, we need to learn from our mistakes and other people’s mistakes. Lucky moments do not happen many times. If I’m lucky one time, I will do my best to not make that mistake again. If someone makes a mistake, I’ll not look at it just to judge it but also to learn from it.
Never think you will never do a low turn. Many experienced skydivers did it. Why are we different? Learn from the situations and be ready to have a better reaction.
Keep coming back
I hope you can use some of the things I wrote and share them with others. I could keep writing about tips and things I heard and learned for hours, but I’ll use a second blog post for that. For now, I think it’s enough. I want to know what is the best advice you can give. Please share it here, online, or with your friends. We never know when something we said could save a life.
If you like the article, please let me know, send me an email or a message on Instagram. I want to know about your experience and thoughts!
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