So the story goes a little bit like this… I got to Australia in 1998 with 19 static-lines and a reservation for AFF Level 5.
Was there “studying” abroad, but spent every weekend at the drop zone.
Doesn’t sound like me at all.
Put it this way, they couldn’t get rid of me, or my full-on excited newbie-ness. Thing is though, they didn’t try. In fact it was the opposite. They were nice, helpful, and inclusive, both in the air and on the ground. Larry picking me up at the round-about every weekend, Deb taking me under her chick-on-the-drop-zone wing, and Muttley one of the funniest people ever, teaching me that people are cool, and cool people like him could actually like questionably cool people like me.
Well, that’s how I remember it, anyway.
So why think about this now?
Long-story stupidly short, the circle came fully around as I was invited back to Australia professionally this year to organize and coach. That alone was literally a dream come true for me. Then on top of said dream reality, in the middle of giving my seminar, he appeared, Muttley, back row middle. I kept it together to finish my talk, but honestly, I was reeling. I couldn’t believe he even remembered me, much less would make a special trip to see me.
With that, I was instantaneously catapulted back into the mind and heart of myself at 100 jumps.
No joke, I was bouncing off the walls. So happy. Effectively reliving my own enthusiasm and attitude from when skydiving was still shiny and new.
So what’s the big deal? Caught up with an old friend. It was cool. I had a moment. We were happy. Sounds pretty normal, right? So again… what’s the big deal? Well… I’d say the big deal is in the ripples.
Have you ever heard of “emotional wake?” The concept that what we say and do has far-reaching impact on others, far greater than we may be able to realize in the moment, or ever really.
For me, Muttley is a textbook example of someone who effects a definitively positive emotional wake, and as such my wake immediately took on some of what he gave me. And only now, 12 years later, am I able to really get the implication of that, and see the impact long-term. Even bigger-picture kicker?
We all wield this huge power, as it’s entirely our choice what kind of waves we make.
So where’s our water to make new, more positive waves? Is it with our co-workers who annoy us with mistakes so we snap instead of making extra effort to help them get it? Is it that new person on the drop zone we’d normally walk by because we’ve already got our friends? Is it with the cashier at our favorite girly-clothes store, smiles instead of silence?
In what puddles, ponds, lakes, and oceans can we start ripples? Is it in our facebook status? In more attention in every conversation? In consciously deciding positivity and love is what we will put out there regardless of style or circumstance?
Further, whom can we pinpoint in our lives that fit this bill? Have impacted us for the better? What did they teach us and how have we integrated it in ourselves?
Asking these questions creates consciousness around the deeper value in our interactions, and that consciousness gives us the power to use those a-ha’s however we choose. Big deal? I’d say so.
We spend a ton of our time noticing and addressing the things in our lives that are negative, or cause us pain, and that’s awesome, because knowing helps us clear away roadblocks, grow, and make way for more happiness. How can we change the things we don’t like if we’re not aware of them, right? Totally.
I say the same goes for the other side… how can we use those things that inspire us, change our lives, motivate us, and make us happy, if we’re cruising past them always focused on the road work? My thinking is that the view deserves just as much of our attention if not more.
Personally, I’m excited to spend more of my conscious time creating a friendly, helpful, educational, authentic, badass, booyah emotional wake.
Yeah, all of ‘em.
And I’m happy to thank my good friend, Muttley, for helping me see evidence of the greater impact we all can have on the world around us, one person at a time.
I mean, if being nice to the guy in the cereal aisle meant you’d get the job of your dreams, what would you do? If deepening your friendship with an acquaintance meant they ended up as a happy and successful CEO who donated millions to cancer research and your future child’s life was saved with the new technology developed, what would you do then?
Just because it’s difficult to contemplate how far our ripples go, doesn’t mean they are not at work, and we are not part of the energy behind them.
Yeah. The deal is big. The waves are big. And what’s cool, is we don’t need to know how to surf, just have the courage to paddle out. Go team.