Business lessons learned from skydiving (part 2)

Home Column Business lessons learned from skydiving (part 2)

(Second in a series)

“I need you to let go of the plane!” my instructor yelled over the roar of the Cessna’s engine.

It was August 2019, and I was on my first tandem skydive, sitting in front of Cody Irby—my instructor to whom I was harnessed—a mile-and-a-half above the ground. The plane’s door had just popped open, and we were moving toward it to jump out. I kept instinctively reaching up to grab handholds in the plane, which is why Cody had to keep reminding me to let go. I was so scared that I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in the plane’s doorway with nothing between me and the ground 7,500 feet below. My fear was redlining, my inner voice was screaming, “Get back in the plane!!”

And then we stepped into the void.

Instantly the fear vanished and was replaced with pure, high-octane exhilaration as we free-fell at 120 miles per hour. To go from sheer terror to overwhelming exhilaration in the space of two seconds is hard to describe. Then, we were under canopy; the roar of wind replaced with the gentle whoosh of the parachute as we sailed through the sky. Miles of beautiful, Colorado country were spread out before me, backdropped by the stunning Rocky Mountains. It was peaceful and serene. After we landed, all I wanted to do was climb back in the plane and do it again.

Since 2007, I’ve worked with hundreds of flooring dealers through my company, Flooring Success Systems. My team and I help them in two fundamental ways: 1) Implement unconventional marketing and sales strategies to get more customers while commanding premium prices; and 2) Take control of their businesses so they can have the money and freedom to do enjoy their ideal lifestyle. You can read some of their stories at FlooringSuccessSystems.com.

Every dealer I’ve worked with has one thing in common: In order to reach their transformative goals, they have to make changes. Sometimes the necessary changes are big, requiring a remodel of their entire business.

Big changes almost always cause fear of the unknown. And it’s no wonder—our limbic system (“fight or flight” response) is adapted to protect us from danger, and the “unknown” is dangerous. But this fear, which may have served our hunter/gatherer ancestors, isn’t serving us in the 21st century. After all, a bad business decision is unlikely to result in you being devoured by a Saber-Toothed tiger. But our limbic system doesn’t know this.

During my skydive training, when I was standing in the doorway of the plane, my limbic system thought I was about to be killed. I had to ignore the fear and take action. Once I did that, the fear went away. Every time.

When you’re contemplating “taking the jump” to making transformative change in your business, you might be seized with fear. You’ve done your research, you know the changes are necessary, you know you’re taking intelligent action, but the fear is there screaming at you. And it’s not going away. It’s at that moment that you must make a conscious decision to take action in spite of your fear. Life-changing rewards await you on the other side.


Jim is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides floor 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 FlooringSuccessSystems.com.

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August 23, 2021

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