Three Lessons on Transformation and Performance I Learned from my Skydiving Instructor


Today saw me complete and check off another of my bucket list items…

I jumped out of a plane, free fell at 120mph and parachuted my way to the ground!

Years of thinking about it and being on the verge of doing it - quickly, within an hour or, so turned into…

“I’ve done it- that’s a wrap”.

While going through this entire thrilling and terrifying experience, there were three lessons on transformation and performance that I learned from my skydiving instructor.

1. Don’t struggle to do it alone - there are no medals for that!

An important piece of information in all of this, is that I didn’t do it alone.

I did it with Luke, an instructor who’s been in the game almost two decades - and without his help I feel I’d still be clinging onto the edge of the teeny tiny plane painfully coaching myself off the edge, instead of sitting by the hotel pool right now, writing this.

I was amazed at how much easier and joyful the experience was for me with the help and support of a trusted instructor - someone who knew what they were doing, had succeeded in it before and was practiced at coaching me in the areas that I was unskilled in and felt most vulnerable.

While it is illegal to jump out of a plane alone (in most countries) without the required training and hours of experience under your belt; many changes, new ventures and projects do not fall under the same level of protocol and therefore can leave many trying intensely hard to accomplish mammoth transformations or radical performance, alone.

One of my top priorities in the early stages of working with a new client, which continues to build and strengthen as time passes and our relationship progresses, is to create an environment where the person I’m coaching to heal, transform or UpGrade; feels safe and secure - it is a must in my opinion.

Aside from the practical tips and tools we seek out experts in life and businesses for, something even more invaluable we need is empathy - when someone can relate to what you are feeling and assist you through that wobble, you begin to feel confident and ready for anything. It is daunting as heck to position yourself so closely with someone you hardly know - and buddy up with them as you step out into the unknown and scary landscape of your next chapter.

Yet it has been my experience, not just in skydiving but also in my own personal and professional development and growth; that it is because of that help, guidance and support, I am who I am today and contributes to where I am in my life and business.

Powering through situations that push us to our limits, which include anything worthwhile usually, is not fun at all if attempted alone - and as well as infusing the journey with more joy and self awareness, mentoring and learning from someone who is rooting for you on all levels will always amplify your chances of long term, steadfast success.

2. Look at the evidence and statistics that prove you can succeed

There may not be actual data or research in the area you are seeking to create change or transformation in.

For example, many entrepreneurial or lifestyle situations are still up and coming, alternative and many who have made it have been pioneers in the field. So while you may not always have access to science or charts, there is still very much to be gained by getting close to and learning from people who are already achieving what you are desiring to. Living proof is after all, living proof.

In the lead up to my relocation to India with my kids, I joined groups on Facebook and watched and learned about alternative lifestyles, business, and schooling from those who had or were about to take a leap of faith - from people who could tell a first hand story, from experience, not just a text book.

As we were climbing in altitude and taking in the Birdseye view sights of San Diego and Mexico, Luke was listing all the facts he could lay his thoughts on to bring me out of my almost anxiety attack.

How long he’s been doing what he does, how many jumps he’s completed (15,000 in total) and the odds of dying versus other ways. What caught my attention the most were his real life stories - what he knew to be true because he had lived it himself.

3. Lean on pure faith

Needless to say, Luke and I were instant Skydive kindred spirits.

When he was done telling me, from 10,000 feet above sea level, his own version of the facts of how safe it was to be doing this jump strapped to him, he moved onto talking about faith and trust in something of a divine nature. I thought to myself, ‘I can do that, I’m a pro at leaning into life in trust - this is familiar to me.

Throughout my decades long UpGrade journey, I have based uncountable life changes, risks and decisions upon an ongoing inkling, inspired desire or intuition, and they have not once failed me. And since my inner satellite navigation system is what lead me to be sitting straddled by this big burly American man circling above the ocean, I knew I could bring God onto the plane with me and all will be well.

Often, when we find ourselves in a situation that is confusing, overwhelming or out of our control, the kindest most loving thing we can do for ourselves is to allow ourselves to be held and supported, to drop into a state of pure belief that we are indeed taken care of and if anything other than what we deem desirable should happen, then that was part of the plan!

Ok, so it’s not as easy to ‘Let go and let god’ when you’re jumping out of a plane as it is when you’re making a risky business or relationship move, and neither would we advocate leaping from the jet without a harness or investing or partnering without a formal agreement or safety net, but when all is said and done, when all the i’s have been dotted and the t’s crossed, all we really have left is the notion that universe always has our backs!


Maria K