JUMP: Don’t Let The Fear Of The Fall Keep You From Landing

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Occasionally you do come across someone who is less buoyant than most, but this just means they need a little bit more forward propulsion to actually swim or they may float a little lower down — more under the surface — than most. However, fear and tension mean that people hold themselves stiffly and, by hunching their heads or shoulders, they unintentionally push their feet towards the bottom of the pool. When we are afraid, the natural reaction is to pull the legs up underneath the body — to curl up into a foetal position. This is not conducive to swimming.

Landing my Skydiving License

So the first thing I do is to get the person to lie flat on the water with their face in it and to let me pull them along gently, holding their hands. The biggest fear for many people is taking their feet off the bottom when they have nothing to hold on to. One woman described it as a "fear of gaps" — like when you step from the platform to the train. Another said it was like the moment when you fall asleep and the feeling of falling jerks you awake. Letting go is the hardest part to teach because so much of it is in the mind.

Many people are fine as long as they can hold my hands but, as soon as they try to let go, panic sets in and — even though I don't feel it myself — I can see that it is a real, deep-seated fear. Teaching swimming has taught me so much about fear itself. Fear keeps us safe, but it also prevents us from moving forward. If you are frightened and try to hold on to the water, you can't swim.

It is only by letting go and trusting that the water will hold you up that you can learn to swim.

This is far more important than technique, but it takes time. Occasionally I have an adult pupil who hasn't learned to swim simply because of circumstance. One woman I taught grew up in a war zone — there was no time for swimming. She was not afraid of the water, she had just never learned. Simply put, if you pull the right toggle, the parachute will turn right and visa versa. Jumpers usually deploy their parachutes at appropriate heights to their skill levels, and for safety.

Highly experienced jumpers deploy around 3, feet or above, while students generally deploy around 5, feet.


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Why is that important? Because a jumper needs the altitude to check for a properly working parachute, then prepare for the parachute landing. Inevitably, every jumper will prepare to enter a parachute landing pattern. The landing pattern is made of three legs similar to how airplanes follow a systematic approach to come into land on a runway and ultimately aim to land into the wind. The legs consist of: downwind, crosswind, and final approach. The last 15 seconds of descent is the most crucial for a parachute landing.

All the planning for the last 15 seconds begins before even boarding the airplane — noting the wind direction and speed, knowing the landing pattern direction some skydiving centers may have all left turns to final approach and others all right turns , and deploying the parachute at the appropriate height to initiate the plan. Then the last 15 seconds consist of keeping the parachute flying in the same direction making minor corrections if need and preparing to slow down for the parachute landing.

To slow the parachute down, the skydiver pulls the two toggles in unison to create even cupping of the back of the parachute. This motion, along with landing in the wind, will slow a jumper down for an ideal parachute landing. They may try to determine if you currently have or had issues working with others leading to termination, if you get bored quickly in a job, or other red flags. No one likes talking about a job they dislike and why. If not answered diplomatically, your answer could raise further questions and doubts, or sink your chances entirely.

Managers may assume that this type of work is what you really want to do most or focus on in the future. Hiring managers want to see your ability to articulate well, foster enthusiasm in others, and your positive energy.

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What kind of boss and coworkers have you had the most and least success with, and why? You run the risk of appearing difficult by admitting to unsuccessful interactions with others, unless you keep emotions out of it.


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You may also inadvertently describe some of the attributes of your prospective boss. Here you have an opportunity to speak generally about traits that you admire in others, yet appear flexible enough to work with a variety of personality types. Some of my most successful relationships have been where both people communicated very well and set mutual expectations upfront.

Jump : Don't Let the Fear of the Fall Keep You from Landing by Alfredo D. Balarin (2013, Paperback)

The interviewer is testing to see if you still have the hidden desire to run your own company, thus abandoning ship, Taylor says. Most everyone has considered being an entrepreneur at some point in their lives, but to varying degrees.


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  4. This question is tricky because you can unwittingly be lured into talking about your one-time desire to be your own boss with too much perceived enthusiasm. This is an opportunity to discuss why working in a corporate environment as part of a team is most fulfilling to you. You may also enjoy the specialized work in your field more than the operational, financial, or administrative aspects of entrepreneurship. You can further allay their fears by explaining exactly why their company appeals to you. Hiring managers want to ascertain how serious you are about working for them in particular, versus the competition, as well as your level of loyalty, Taylor says.

    You might get caught up in the casual flow of the discussion and inadvertently leak out some well-respected firms, but this is counterproductive and only instills some doubt about your objectives. What are they seeking? Your response to this question tells the employer about your motivation and work ethic.

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    This tells them how responsible you are with your money, and how mature you are as a person. Questions that are out of left field can ambush you, causing you to lose composure. Your prospective boss is evaluating your moral compass. They want to know how you handled a delicate situation that put your integrity to the test, Taylor explains. Did you publicly blow the whistle? Did a backlash ensue?

    Preparing to jump

    What was your thought process? Interviewers want to know how you manage sensitive matters, and are also wary of those who badmouth former employers, no matter how serious the misdeed.

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    Can you give us a reason someone may not like working with you? Prospective bosses want to know if there are any glaring personality issues, and what better way that to go direct to the source? You can easily shoot yourself in the foot with this question. So you have to frame the question in a way that gets at the intent without being self-effacing. I sometimes lose my temper too easily.