On October 14, 2012, Felix Baumgartner set three records. The first was for the highest manned helium balloon flight. The second was for the highest altitude parachute jump (24 miles). The third was for the fastest free fall on record (834 mph).
And you thought drivers on Atlanta freeways were fast.
Here are some details of the flight. As Mr. Baumgartner was careening down, he became disoriented just prior to opening the parachute. He was moving so fast he broke the speed of sound, which is 768 miles per hour. The whole descent took just 4 minutes and 19 seconds.
Even your most lead-footed friends couldn’t drive 24 miles in less than five minutes, could they? And if you we’re with them, you might feel like you were in free fall!
It’s been said that people attempting to commit suicide by jumping will die of cardiac arrest before they hit the ground.
That’s what unbridled fear feels like.
You obviously have challenges as a leader. And when you feel overwhelmed, fear has got you in its clutches. It has great power, too. Did you know that a freight train can be immobilized with a one inch block of wood placed in front of the drive wheels? Fear has the same power to stop you from doing what scares you.
The solution is to move that block of wood.
Effective leaders must have courage. They must identify exactly what scares them and tackle it like the underdog team’s defender when he sacks the star quarterback in a wild card game. If he succeeds, he immediately changes his team’s destiny. When you remove that little block from the train’s drive wheels, it is capable of crashing through a five foot wall of concrete reinforced with steel beams. Now that is powerful momentum!
What is scaring you in your life that you need to deal with? Identify clearly what it is. Then define what benefit you will enjoy by overcoming that fear. The benefit is the prize you’ll keep your eye on as you navigate the stormy sea on the way there. Sailors don’t focus on the waves. They keep their eyes firmly fixed on the lighthouse if they want to make it home.
I can’t promise that confronting your fears will be easy. But it will be rewarding. And who knows? You might just set a record one day!