7 Strategies To Overcome Your Fears To Become A Skydiver
1. Understand Fear
For an emotion experienced by every human being, and quite regularly, it is remarkably misunderstood. And until we truly understand it, we have a very limited ability to control, manage and change the patterns of response.
Fear is a dance of neurophysiology and psychology; a chemical goulash in the brain with the most primal design to keep you safe. It immediately enables us to identify danger and react in the moment to preserve our current state.
But the problem is fear primitive; it’s not intelligent nor evolutionary. Fear only understands heights and the potential for injury from such; it does not distinguish that you’ve been equipped with a technologically advanced parachute, and seventy years of skydiving education and training that has enabled people to safely jump out of perfectly good airplanes.
The first step is to realize that you need to force an upgrade on your own operating system.
2. Deconstruct You Fear
Now armed with a little perspective on fear, it’s time to get specific and really deconstruct your fear associated with skydiving. The best way to do that is to ask yourself some real questions and force some real answers.
Why are you afraid of skydiving? Is it due to a potential bad outcome? If that’s the case, ask yourself why you have that perception. Is that based on facts, truth, research or industry information?
The truth is your perception was most likely created from a collection of misinformed friends or family, bad jokes, incorrect media reports, general misunderstanding and lack of accurate information.
You very well may have a fear, but that fear may be of an activity that doesn’t exist how you understand it.
3. Education is the Answer
Naturally, deconstructing fears of skydiving is going to lead you to one conclusion: you’ve probably been misinformed and have created misconceptions. The Canadian Sport Parachute Association’s (CSPA) motto is “knowledge dispels fear”.
The best way to get educated on any subject matter is to go to the experts. The CSPA, and the United States Parachute Association collect data from all of its member organizations and have the true facts. Spoiler alert: although it is a high risk activity, forty years of data has proven that it is an extremely safe activity undertaken by adults of all ages, ethnicities, gender and social status.
4. Soak Up the Sport
On a busy day at Alberta Skydive Central, you might see up to 400 parachute landings. Experienced skydivers might do 2, 6, or even 10 jumps in a day. There is nothing that can replace watching consistently, gentle parachute landings and the sheer passion, adrenaline and exuberance immediately after experiencing human flight. Theres’ an undefinable energy at a skydive center; a different level of friendship amongst people that fly. Experiencing and absorbing that vibe while witness the degree of safety does incredibly alters the patterns of fear associated with skydiving.
5. Write An Outcomes List
One of the best ways to overcome your fears is to just positively motivate yourself so much that your desires are so strong they outweigh any remaining fears. Of course anyone that ever wanted to skydive wants to experience the fun and freedom of human flight, but deeply examine your motivations and desired outcomes. Here’s a few exercises to get you started. The more specific and detailed in your answers, the more meaningful and effective it will be.
How I think I’ll feel while I’m skydiving:
How do I think skydiving will change me?
I think I’ll be more likely to _____________________________________________________________.
I think I’ll be less ____________________________________________________________________.
Before I started skydiving I would never __________________________________________________.
I’ve never meet someone before that ____________________________________________________.
Ever since I started skydiving, I change the way that I _______________________________________.
Mental strategies and tricks aside, at some point you just have to put your feet over the edge of an open airplane door, 14,000 feet above the Earth, and just jump. Despite popular belief, or your wishes, we’ll never push you out of an airplane. You have to do it yourself.
The best way, the only way, to start skydiving is to actually start. Amazingly, it tends to be less scary than people perceive, even more fun than they could imagine and significantly safer than they could have hoped.
From a physical standpoint, it’s literally the easiest thing you can do when you find yourself at the door. You just have to fall, smile and breathe.
7. Push Though to the Next Level
One of the incredible, and unknown, aspects about skydiving for new jumpers is that there is always something else: a new skill to learn, a new challenge, a new technique, a new incredible sensation.
At some point on your journey between first jump and Sky Ninja status, you’ll encounter some fear, progression setbacks and/or second thoughts. One way to help is shift your mind’s focus from negative thoughts (I can’t do this; it’s too difficult) to positive thoughts (the feeling you had after you landed from that first skydive). As you progress in skydiving you’ll also be taught the value of mentally rehearsing and visualizing the perfect skydive. Most top performers utilize a similar practice to help improvement and control fear.
At the end of the day, we were all there. Fears are common. Overcoming them gives you the buzz of mastering your fear and the exhilaration of human flight. Come fly with us and leave your fears behind!
LET’S DO IT!