Even more lessons learned from skydiving (part 5)

Home Column Even more lessons learned from skydiving (part 5)

By Jim Augustus Armstrong—In 2019, I fulfilled a long-time goal to become a skydiver. To date, I have over 380 skydives and am now a wingsuit pilot. In this installment, we continue to explore the profound lessons that skydiving teaches about succeeding in your flooring business.

Lesson #8: Be willing to give up the ordinary to go for the extraordinary. To reach my goal of skydiving—and eventually wingsuiting—I had completely give up the ordinary, at least while I was engaged in that activity. What does ordinary mean in this case? Oh, little things like safety, having solid ground beneath your feet, not risking death. But the reward of letting go of the ordinary is experiencing something profoundly extraordinary.

You can do the same in your business and life.

You’ve achieved a certain level of success in your business. It’s comfortable. It’s paying the bills. It’s not too bad. Can’t complain. But is that all you want for your business and life? For it to be “not bad?” Or would you rather it be extraordinary?

Lesson #9: What would you do if you weren’t afraid? I first encountered this question over 20 years ago in Spencer Johnson’s book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” It stopped me in my tracks. I wrote it out and pinned it to the wall above my desk, so I was forced to look at it every single day. I began to write out answers to that question. Lots of them. All the things that fear was holding me back from. All the hopes and dreams fear was stealing from me. I got angry at fear!

I didn’t realize it at the time, but asking this question was one of the catalysts for a whole new path for my life. It’s part of the reason why I skydive.

I still ask myself this question. You should, too.

Lesson #10: Take a leap of faith. It’s in my nature to be a bit of a control freak. One of my mottos is “proper planning prevents poor production.” In business I’ve learned the value of laying plans, thinking things through, preparation. These habits increase the odds that I’ll succeed at reaching whatever goal I set.

However, at some point, the planning has to end, and the doing must commence. After you’ve done your due diligence, you must act. In skydiving, you do your gear checks, you plan your dive flow, you do everything reasonable to ensure a safe dive. But, in the end, there are no guarantees. At that critical moment you’ve got to step out of the plane and simply trust that things will turn out OK. It’s a leap of faith

It’s the same when you set out to take your business to a whole new level. After all your planning, there will still be times when you’ll want to hesitate. That’s when you need to take a leap of faith.

Lesson #11: It’s never too late to build an extraordinary life. Don’t believe the lie that says, “I’m too old,” or “I’m too set in my ways,” or “I’ve made too many mistakes,” or whatever is bouncing around in your mind that’s holding you back.

The past is over. You can choose to let it go. The future can be a blank slate in which you write a brand-new, incredible story. You can start right now if you like.


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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