Yes, that's me up there! Interestingly enough, I used to be deathly afraid of heights. I'm not suggesting para sailing is the best way to overcome a fear of heights but it worked for me. Sometimes, the only way through a fear is to meet it head on. That's what I did in this case.
My wife, Georgia, and I were vacationing on Marco Island, Florida several years ago and I was sitting on the beach watching people flying in parachutes over the water. I thought to myself, “That looks like a lot of fun. " Then, the little voice inside reminded me that I had a lifelong fear of unsecured heights. Sure, I was fine in airplanes but to hang out in a parachute was more than I could imagine.
After a few days of anxiously watching people having fun I decided to face one of my worst fears. I walked over to the man at the rental booth and asked him if it was safe to do this. Dumb question. Like he was going to say no:-) He said, “It's so safe we have young children doing it and I even have an 80 year old woman who comes every few weeks to do it. What a closer:-) Now, what am I supposed to say? That this big macho guy is too scared to do it? No way! I said sure and paid the man.
I will admit that I was frightened half to death when I got up there. I figured since I was a good swimmer I would not worry. Once I saw how high I was going, I realized it did not matter. If I fell, I would splatter - good swimmer or not.
After a while, I loosened my painfully tight grip on the parachute lines and actually began to enjoy the ride. What a sight from several hundred feet above the island. By the time I got back down, I had next to no fear of high places.
Sometimes we just have to look our fears right in the eye and do it anyway.
© 2004 Jim Donovan — PO Box 1147, Buckingham, PA 18912 — (215) 794-3826
Jim Donovan is the author of “Handbook to a Happier Life, a motivational speaker and coach. For a no cost bonus product & more, visit http://www.JimDonovan.com
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