Dozens of people jump off the Auckland Skytower every day. At 192 metres, it is the highest jump in New Zealand – the land of extreme sports.
It’s no big deal really.
Anyone can do it.
Well in my case, not such an easy task. As someone who hates heights and gets vertigo easily, I avoid any such activities. I’m the mother that offers to hold the jackets while the rest of the family go on the rides at the theme park. The one that “suddenly” needs to go to the bathroom and tells the family to “go on ahead and enjoy the rollercoaster without me.”
So when asked to jump for charity to accompany one of my lovely clients / friends who does amazing work in the community – how was I going to turn around and say “no, your trainer is too gutless?”
If I had been asked two months in advance, I know that I would have backed out, but 24 hours notice meant that I only had time to post all over Facebook to drum up as many donations as possible, try to sleep, (like THAT was going to happen) and turn up on time with my wonderful little support group consisting of my daughter and two “gym-daughters.”
After chatting and giggling as we sat in traffic for nearly 45 minutes, my stomach dropped when reality hit as the Skytower came into view. Oh My Gosh – what the HELL had I gotten myself into? We spent nearly a good hour fluffing around waiting for our turn, and while I didn’t have actual butterflies, I certainly had the fidgets. My friend and I changed into our glamorous jumpsuits, then it was game time.
There were three of us heading up in the lift. Needless to say, I was the one in the corner NOT standing over the glass plate in the floor and NOT looking down through the glass doors. When my friend Angela bravely headed out and jumped first, I stood in the waiting room with hands over my mouth repeating “no way, no way!” I told the man with me that I HAD to go next – there is no way that I would last another 5 minutes on my own watching him go over the edge – I’d be back down that lift as soon as he left the room!
Stepping out onto the walkway was intense. I could see the city laid out below me, but kept looking forward at the horizon. I half listened to the attendant’s instructions, acknowledging with very short “yep, yep yep” responses, while trying to keep my eyes firmly ahead. As he hooked me up, telling me to stand with my toes over the edge, and hold on to ropes either side while the cable holding me was winched tight, I could do nothing but stand and contemplate what stood in front of me.
I spoke the words that were SCREAMING inside me: “I don’t think that I can do this.” How the hell could I step off into nothing? My head was spinning, my heart thumping. I honestly didn’t think that I could follow through. I’m sure that the young attendant says the same line to everyone, but what he said to me, is exactly what I say to my own clients and it hit a nerve.
“Yes you can. I believe in you.”
He then counted down while I still frantically tried to work out how I could get out of this. The city was laid out below me, the clouds sat low, and rain and wind was whipping my face as I leaned over the edge. I looked down briefly, immediately regretted it then looked straight out again.
The countdown finished. I literally turned off my brain, and stepped out into nothing.
The fall down was fine. I knew that I was safe, I knew that I would slow down before slamming in the mat, (the fall speed is around 85 km / hr) – it was the FIRST STEP that was the make or break to the entire experience. And by taking it, I learned SO much about myself in the process.
I learned that life is full of opportunities and that sometimes there isn’t the luxury of time to contemplate whether to grab them or not. Sometime you just have to say yes, THEN work out the details afterwards.
I’m 50. If I don’t do it NOW, if I don’t reveal the person that I REALLY am, if I don’t fulfil the mission that I REALLY feel called to – I NEVER WILL.
That step off the edge was me saying “get lost” to fear. My own fear of “I can’t do it.”
“I’m not worthy enough.”
“People won’t like me.”
That simple little act of jumping off a building – just like thousand of tourists before me – has represented so much more than a physical act.
I faced MY fear, I stepped OFF the edge into the unknown and I LOVED the ride.
Your turn now.
Find your tower……step into the abyss……and ENJOY the ride! <3