You Want Me To Do What? - Risking to Win

Written by Jim McCormick

Continued from page 1

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."

Mark Twain Fear is powerful. It will significantly hamper your ability to risk effectively. Learning how to prevail inrepparttar face of fear is a critical step in improving your ability to take rewarding risks.

To become a more capable risk-taker, you need to move away fromrepparttar 123978 instinctive response to fear and towardrepparttar 123979 counterintuitive response. The constructive - though counterintuitive - response to fear is to acknowledge and accept it.

This approach has been validated byrepparttar 123980 National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Early inrepparttar 123981 space program, NASA observed that some of its astronauts were completing their missions successfully without suffering motion and stress sickness. Another group was consistently having these problems. Based on empirical research, NASA determined there was only one factor that differentiatedrepparttar 123982 two groups.

The astronauts who were completing their mission without these physical manifestations of fear had acknowledged in advance to themselves or others that they were going to be afraid. This research documents how profoundly a constructive response to fear impacts our performance.

The Rewards of Risk-Taking

Why take risks anyway? Why even consider leaving your comfort zone? Isn't risk-taking something we are supposed to grow out of? Isn't it just a remnant of impertinent youthful behavior we should have left behind as we matured and grew wiser?

The partial answer to these questions has already been provided. Risk-taking yields vitality and a higher level of achievement. But there is more.

For every reasonable risk there is at least one potential reward. This is a Direct Reward. A reward that can be identified atrepparttar 123983 timerepparttar 123984 risk is being considered.

Better yet, a consistent pattern of intelligent risk-taking will yield something more: Compound Rewards! Compound Rewards arerepparttar 123985 surprise rewards -repparttar 123986 rewards we cannot anticipate atrepparttar 123987 time we are consideringrepparttar 123988 risk. These are rewards you would never have enjoyed if were not willing to step out of your comfort zone. But you will enjoy them if you are willing to challenge yourself, leave your comfort zone and take some risks.

It occurred for me. A few years ago when I was 10,000 feet overrepparttar 123989 North Pole and moments away fromrepparttar 123990 120 degree below zero temperature of freefall, I had no way of knowing what Compound Rewards that risk would bring. I had no way of knowing that jump would berepparttar 123991 first step in a most extraordinary career transition that would lead me to abandon a fairly conventional corporate career path and make my avocation of skydiving a major part of my vocation.

We don't knowrepparttar 123992 rewards we will enjoy by our willingness to take thoughtful risks, but we do knowrepparttar 123993 rewards will not occur unless we are willing to take those risks. And wouldn't it be a shame to forgo some wonderful, if unknown, rewards just because we can't seem to find our way out of our comfort zone!

"Andrepparttar 123994 trouble is, if you donít risk anything, you risk even more."

Erica Jong Author and Poet © 2004 Jim McCormick

Right to publish or post this article at no cost is granted provided copyright is attributed to Jim McCormick andrepparttar 123995 above information aboutrepparttar 123996 author is included in its entirety.

Jim McCormick is an MBA, former corporate Chief Operating Officer, three time skydiving World Record holder and was a member of an international expedition that skydived to the North Pole. More information is available at and 970.577.8700.

Heed Your Confidence Voice

Written by Jim McCormick

Continued from page 1

Feelings send us off in various directions just likerepparttar retrorockets. When they fire, we start to travel in a certain direction. When we identifyrepparttar 123977 feeling and its source, we haverepparttar 123978 opportunity to counter its effect if we choose. That's why it is so critical that we understand what's occurring. It may be that we don't want to counterrepparttar 123979 effect--that's okay, too. The difference is that now we're pilots who know what's taking place as opposed to pilots with rockets firing at random and no idea where we're headed. A feelings inventory is our control panel. Sometimes our retro-rockets may fire in a direction that's good. It helps to know that, too.

Infants have few fears. Duringrepparttar 123980 early days of life, we tune in to our confidence voice like a radio picking up a strong signal. We don't even need a vocabulary! The message is perfectly clear: Do it. Touch it. Put it in my mouth. Taste it. Twist it. Throw it onrepparttar 123981 ground. Never again will our confidence voice play such an undiluted role in our actions--fortunately. If we didn't "catch" certain fears from our society, we would likely die young.

Unfortunately, once those fears do come into our lives, we usually take on more than we need. We find we become more adept at hearing our fear voice than tuning in our fainter confidence voice.

I was confronted with my fear voice when I hadrepparttar 123982 chance to skydive torepparttar 123983 North Pole. After three hours inrepparttar 123984 air,repparttar 123985 Russian jet transport I was aboard had finally arrived overrepparttar 123986 polar cap. Along with my fellow team members, I approachedrepparttar 123987 exit ramp. Within two steps ofrepparttar 123988 edge, I realized I had a significant gear problem: I had forgotten to tighten my leg straps. If I went into free fall with my leg straps loose, on opening, my harness would shift upward. My chest strap would shift across my face, likely knocking off my goggles.

In that frigid Arctic air, with a single tear and a blink of my eyes, my eyelashes could freeze together. Should that occur in both eyes, I could no longer tell if I was heading for ice or water. I wouldn't be able to tell when I was getting nearrepparttar 123989 surface so I could make a safe landing. The worst case would be that my chest strap would shift above my head, no longer holding me in my harness. I would pitch forward and continue in free fall for what would become my final skydive.

I was faced with a very difficult decision and only a few moments in which to make it.

I had to decide between going back intorepparttar 123990 aircraft and giving myself a more thorough gear check or leavingrepparttar 123991 plane with my team. My team was my survival mechanism. Due torepparttar 123992 speed ofrepparttar 123993 aircraft, my only hope of landing with my team would be by exiting with my team.

I tightened my leg straps, knowing there could be as many as half a dozen other important elements of preparation I could have neglected inrepparttar 123994 excitement ofrepparttar 123995 moment andrepparttar 123996 bulk ofrepparttar 123997 unusual gear.

As I looked out that door and tried to make my decision, I heard from my fear voice and it said, "Jim get back inrepparttar 123998 plane! You're about to kill yourself."

Fortunately, my confidence voice was there, too. It had a deliberate, but quieter, tone: "Jim, you're well trained. You're well prepared and you don't want to miss this opportunity. If you leaverepparttar 123999 aircraft now, you'll haverepparttar 124000 experience of a lifetime!"

I had to listen to those two voices and decide if I was ready to takerepparttar 124001 next step. I did, andrepparttar 124002 rewards have been immeasurable. I found my true calling: as a result of that experience, I've been able to become a full-time professional speaker and help people understand how taking risks stepping outside their comfort zone-can lead to higher performance onrepparttar 124003 job and greater personal satisfaction. Immeasurable rewards await you, too, if you're willing to take some thoughtful and constructive risks!

Jim McCormick is a leading authority on risk and fear. He draws on his experiences as a World Record and North Pole skydiver to help people effectively deal with fear and take the critical risks that lead to improved personal and organizational performance. More information is available at

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