I finally went skydiving last year for my birthday. For some of you that might not be a huge thing. But I have been terribly afraid of heights. I couldn’t even climb up a ladder without feeling anxious.
Skydiving has always tempted me.
There are many things that I’m scared about and they don’t feel tempting. But I’ve always been tempted by skydiving. I just couldn’t imagine myself jumping because I was scared.
It’s always been a HELL NO. I’m too scared. But this changed.
Having done a lot of personal development in the last years, it slowly turned into something that I really wanna do. And something that I could imagine doing.
So, I reserved a time.
Luckily, they had a time available only two days later. I was happy that it was so soon. Little time to think about it and chicken out.
But unfortunately, the company had to cancel the time and postpone my jump by a week.
Now there was a lot more time to think about it and question my decision.
Over the next couple of days, doubts started creeping in.
Doubts if I would be able to do it.
Funnily enough, I was never scared of the jump itself. It was a tandem-jump, so I would jump with a person that has jumped hundreds of times before.
I started being afraid of being afraid.
I had these thoughts about me get super-scared and not be able to jump because of that.
Of being paralyzed by fear.
Feel unable to move.
Having a big knot in my throat, everything tightening up.
The same feeling that I’ve had before when my fear of heights really kicked in.
I knew I had to stop that thought pattern.
I knew that I wouldn’t be able to jump if I continued imagining not being able to jump. As Henry Ford said:
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”
This quote speaks volumes to me.
We can mentally prepare our brain for future scenarios. Some studies show that visualization trains our brain in a similar manner as taking action.
I started to imagine myself not being scared.
Every time thoughts of being scared came up, I imagined myself being calm, confindent and trusting before the jump as well as enjoying the actual jump.
When the day of the jump came, I was calm and looking forward to the jump.
I stayed calm and without fear the whole time: while we drove to the airport, during the instructions, while boarding the plane, and during take-off.
I felt good looking out of the window, seeing how the houses were getting smaller and smaller. Feeling good about the thought of soon jumping out of the plane.
The fear never came.
Instead, I was rewarded with an amazing feeling when we jumped. Feeling the pressure of the free fall in my stomach and enjoying the beautiful view after the parachute had opened.
When you worry, you use your imagination for the worse.
You might think that you are not good at visualizing.
But you use your imagination all the time.
You use it when you worry.
Like most of us, probably you’re pretty at that one, aren’t you?
Why not use your imagination for the better? To imagine the best case scenario rather than the worst case scenario?
Imagine the outcome that you would like to have.
You can try it out for yourself.
Take something that you are afraid of.
Let’s take public speaking as an example.
Probably, you’ll have all these horror-scenarios in your head: You’ll forget what you want to say, people will laugh at you, nobody will like what you’re saying…
Instead, imagine vividly, how your talk is going great. You’re calm and confident, the audience is engaged in your talk, you’re on point with what you want to say.
Imagine the scenario in as much detail as possible. Which emotions are you feeling right now?
Feel these emotions as often as possible.
Come back to the visualization and feeling into those emotions as often as possible. Especially, whenever a doubt and worry start creeping in.
If you can visualize either what can go wrong or what can go right, why not rather choose the latter?