I still remember that moment. Even now, it reminds me of something I believe epitomizes my beliefs as an entrepreneur.
A few years ago, I took a trip with my friends to Las Vegas, a place that just gives you the feel of a sin city. I thought to myself, "Okay, I'm in Vegas. This is the place you can take risks, keep it to yourself and enjoy with your friends." After we checked into our hotel, I had an idea and went to my friends and asked them if they wanted to go skydiving tomorrow. All my friends were excited and said they were good to do it. The next day, we drove to a diving center that would allow us to skydive over the Grand Canyon. When we got to the center, my entourage bailed. When I said they bailed, I meant all of them did. I could see why some of them were scared. After all, the process of getting to the part where you dive out of a plane is scary in itself. You have to go through a process of signing your life away and doing insane tutorials.
After I did all of that, I went up in a propeller plane and when we got to an insane altitude, the supervisor asked who was up first. I don't know where the words came out from, but I blurted out "Let's go"! While I was getting ready to jump, I kept thinking to myself "what am I really doing, am I really going to jump, what if things go badly".
I got to the edge of the plane, the wind blasted onto my face, and I kept saying "let's go". When I jumped out, all the fears in my life disappeared. I felt free, and I felt like I could achieve anything. When I pulled my parachute, I felt at peace with the world. The feeling of going from warp speed downwards to coasting looking at the round world is one of the most serene and beautiful feelings one can have.
My skydiving experience taught me so many lessons that I believe every entrepreneur can learn from.
1. Follow through with your vision--even if others around you aren't doing the same with their's.
Entrepreneurship like skydiving takes a degree of commitment. So many people want to put things off just like some of my friends wanted to when they bailed at the last minute.
If you want to do something crazy, you need to realize that there are times when you need to just do it and forget about anyone else. Just imagine, you are surrounded by all of your friends, they want to bail from skydiving, and you have the same feeling to because of them. In business and in life, I have strived to be a counter puncher, a person that goes against the grain. That's what makes a leader a leader, they don't back because everyone else does. They believe in their vision and they are crazy enough to chase it to the end.
2. Push your limits.
Growth as a person and entrepreneur comes when you put yourself in uncomfortable situations. I bet you have heard this before, but what you probably don't realize is how many barriers you put in your head. When you go after something and put yourself in a situation that makes you vulnerable to your fears, everything around you (family, friends, ambition, health) is put into perspective. When you overcome your fears in the face of adversity, you will naturally grow by increasing your level of strength, confidence, and courage. In business, people want the easy way out sometimes.
After I sold my company Elite Daily, I could have never worked again, or could have launched a course and sold millions of books. However, I took the harder route and went back to my roots. Do you know hard it was to build an incubator and an entrepreneurial community in a place like Newark that was perceived as the "hood"? To me, it didn't matter how hard it was because I always knew I was born to do something much greater than make money. I'm here to make an impact and build an everlasting legacy.
3. Just do it.
You can only plan so much. When you're skydiving they're only certain things that are in your control. At a certain point just like an operator of a business, you have to let go and do it. Sometimes you'll have to pull a second parachute and adapt, but if you let things take their course and enjoy the ride you are less likely to screw up a situation by not overthinking it.
To all those who are building their legacy, their empire, their world, I would encourage you to do what I did when I went skydiving for the first time. Jump out of the plane, see what happens, and maybe you'll see the world like I did.