Over this past weekend, Felix Baumgartner took skydiving further than it’s ever gone before–literally. He jumped from 24 miles high (no, that’s not a typo), was in free fall for almost 4 1/2 mintues, and broke the sound barrier (fell/flew faster than Mach 1), before opening his chute only a few thousand feet from the ground.
He did what had been impossible. In fact, others have died trying to break the previous record (a jump from about 20 miles high).
His motto (seen on his website www2.felixbaumgartner.com) is: Everyone has limits–some people just don’t accept them!
What limits have you accepted for your life? What’s keeping you from acheiving your dream–from doing what seems impossible?
What if you didn’t let those limits define you anymore? What would you do if you knew it would succeed?
I had lunch last week with Alonzo, a new friend, who never believed he had what it took to go to college, let alone have the career he wanted. Then a man he respected told him he could do it, and now he’s about to graduate from college and is choosing which grad school to attend (he’s got some great options lined up). His life is totally changed because he redefined his limits.
Another friend of mine told me two weeks ago about her husband’s new career. In his 50’s, he decided to become a lawyer–a longtime dream. It’s too late, others said. She didnt expect him to finish law school. Not only did he finish law school, but he applied to work in the District Attorney’s office in a large city–and got the job. He’s living his dream more than 30 years after it was “too late”.
Stop accepting your limits!
But this isn’t just an inspirational moment. Learn from how Felix pulled off the impossible. It really can happen.
1. He planned and planned–he didn’t jump and then think.
He first mentioned this record as a goal in 2005. Seven years later, he was finally ready. He set a huge, crazy awesome goal and set out to work towards it properly. Surviving the jump was a key element the dream. 🙂
Planning is not the opposite of pursuing your dreams. In fact, the best dreamers harness the power of practical planning to their dreams. When practical planning rules, you may not do all you can. But when practical planning serves the dream, it’s powerful and freeing.
Just because your dream is far away doesn’t mean you don’t start working on it today. What would you love to do so much you’d work on it for years?
2. He learned from the best–he didn’t isolate himself and try to do it alone.
Felix worked with many experts to build the baloon he jumped from, his suit, etc. But he only wanted one person talking on the radio headset he wore during the jump: the previous record holder. Now in his 80’s, Joe Kittinger was not just included, but became Felix’s key partner.
Who has done something similar as what you dream about? How can you learn from them? Can you enlist them to help? You might be surprised at how many people who’ve lived their dream are happy to help others do the same. Ask.
3. He used the latest tools–he incorporated cutting edge technology.
From the balloon to his suit (based off the NASA spacesuit) to the GPS chip in the chest of the suit, Felix harnessed the latest technology to make his dive possible and more meaningful. You don’t always need more technology, depending on what your dream is, but don’t overlook how a recent breakthrough in another area could change what’s possible in your dream.
Even small changes can up in the end. What technology or methods related to your dream can you research to see what’s changing? The internet makes finding out this information easier than ever–take advantage of it.
4. He practiced–a lot.
Felix had spent over 2500 hours in freefall before making this dive–and it may have saved his life. The first portion of the jump, instead of getting into a tight “delta” position for a controlled fall, he tumbled wildly. He experience allowed him to stay calm and get control before it was time to pull the chute. Also, he wouldn’t have broke the speed record if he wasn’t in the right position.
Start building your skills now. When your big opportunity comes, you need to be ready.
Twice, I’ve changed my entire career. I did the second change with a new wife, smal children, and little money. If you plan and work well, the impossible is within reach.
(BBC article for more details: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19943590)