What do Bungy Jumping, Flying and Disruption Have in Common?
Do what you are most afraid of - Jocelyn Mercado
I hadn't planned to do it, yet I was carried away in an energy of fun, infused with the recklessness that youth and no responsibilities brings, sprinkled with the utter excitement of being in yet another new place on the up-side-down of my world.
Part of a year long around the world backpacking trip, we were advised, that, when in Queenstown, New Zealand, do as the locals do - jump, bungy style, off a big bridge, very high off the ground. And dangle up-side-down until a boat rescues you; lowers you into it; removes the bungy and drops you onto dry land, where you hike back up feeling dizzy, bemused and thrilled!
So I signed on the dotted line....risk of death / injury / we take no responsibility/ blah blah....fine, I'm up for the challenge.
Walking along that bridge, 340 metres up, I arrived at the jump off point. Two New Zealanders joked as they began their high tech operation of wrapping a towel around my ankles followed by the bungy chord, which, they said, hadn't snapped in a while. I wasn't laughing.
Penguin like, I hopped and waddled to the plank.
Don't look down, they said.
So I looked down.
Oh my heart. There was only one way out of this and it was a totally terrifying exit.
Acting quickly they counted down.
I leaned forward, looked down at the sheer size of the space beneath me, and immediately leaned back again. Like a funny kind of penguin dance of terror and regret.
Focus on a point in the trees beyond, he said, pointing to the opposite side of the gorge.
Then, fly like a bird.
An awkward, clumsy, giant bird, I focused on a point in the trees beyond, leaned forward and....was flying! Gulping air, free falling, arms flapping, ungainly, holding my breath for the chord to catch me. Cord, catch me please.
What would have been seconds seemed like f o r e v e r!
And then it caught me. I bounced up; free fell; bounced up again; free fell and dangled. I had done it. Blood rushed to my head. My eye balls had remained in tact. A different kind of view of the world, hanging up-side-down from a bridge, over a gorge listening to the rushing glacial river just below me. Swaying just slightly in the summer breeze.
And you ask “what if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly? - Erin Hanson
19 years on, I "fly like a bird" in a different way. By speaking at events like DisruptHR Glasgow on Wednesday night. I'm experienced and comfortable public speaking, in the training room or at Conferences, yet this event felt different. The twist being that each speaker creates their talk which lasts 5 minutes with 20 slides that transition every 15 seconds, to get your message across.
It's like choreographing your words to music and then dancing them out, whilst speaking, with an audience looking on.
Or like bungy jumping.
Minus the chord, towel, bridge and gorge.
With equal amounts of terror and exhilaration.
This is all part of the entrepreneurial experience, that I dance with my vision of a creating new balanced leadership paradigm, leading in ways that are easeful, radically sustainable and work in partnership with our energies rather than against them.
If you're an adventurer who likes to stretch themselves by feeling the fear and doing it anyway, try speaking at DisruptHR. What an amazing experience you'll have to tell the grand kids.
Go on, try it. You'll be grand!
Photo: Proof of my story - my Bungy Jump Certificate!