Business lessons learned from skydiving (part 1)

Home Column Business lessons learned from skydiving (part 1)

(First of a series) It all started in 2013 when I was surfing YouTube. I came across a video of a guy standing on a cliff wearing what looked like a flying squirrel suit. “Oh my God!” I thought. “It looks like he’s going to jump off the cliff in that thing!”

Three seconds later, that’s exactly what he did. He walked up to the ledge, spread his arms and stepped off into mid-air. For one terrifying moment he plunged straight down like a sack of bowling balls, and then—he was flying! I found other videos like that one, and quickly learned that what I was seeing was wingsuit flying—a discipline within the sport of skydiving. These people were fulfilling a childhood dream of mine: to fly like Superman.

I immediately wanted to do it. However, at the time there were no drop zones (airport with skydiving) near where I was living. So, with one thing and another, the idea got delayed, but it was always in the back of my mind. Then in August 2019, I decided to look into it again, and discovered that a drop zone had opened within 30 minutes of my home. I called and booked a tandem jump, which means skydiving while harnessed to an instructor. After my tandem, I enrolled in the A-license course and became a licensed skydiver. Now, nearly two years later, I’ve made over 330 skydives and, as of June of this year, achieved my goal to fly a wingsuit. As of this writing, I have made over 30 wingsuit flights.

The best way I can sum up this journey is two words: life changing. The business and life lessons I’ve learned along the way have been nothing short of profound. I simply had no idea what I was in for when I signed up for this craziness, but I’m supremely glad that I made the decision to go for it. In this series, you’ll learn why and how the lessons of skydiving directly apply to your success in the flooring business.

We’re living in a highly tumultuous time in U.S. history, like nothing any of us have ever experienced. The pandemic has altered our lives and the face of business across the globe in ways we don’t yet fully understand. There is massive political unrest and division. Technology is advancing at a rate unlike anything in human history, and—for both good and bad—nothing is left untouched in its wake. This constantly shifting landscape can cause stress, fear and hesitation, especially when it comes to wondering what the future holds for our businesses. It leaves some paralyzed, unsure of what moves to make.

However, there are also unparalleled opportunities. For the floor covering dealer who is willing to be agile, make the necessary shifts and be open to new ways of doing business, fortune awaits. This series is about applying the lessons learned from skydiving to your business so you can push through the uncertainty and take bold, decisive action to reach the big, transformative, exciting goals you want for your business and your life.

In the next installment of this series, I will explore the single-biggest obstacle to your future business success in a rapidly changing world, and explain how a skydiving technique I learned can help you obliterate it. Stay tuned.

Jim is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides flooring dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, close more sales, get higher margins and work the hours they choose. For information visit

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August 16, 2021

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