This past weekend of the 11th, I found myself at the base of a 60 meter tower somewhere in Sagana, with the agenda of the day as bungee jumping. Having rounded up some close friends, we had decided to do something different that would push the limits and get the adrenaline pumping.
Being the heaviest of the lot at 80kg, I had to go last as they would need to change cables for my jump (read as…no one will have jumped with your cable configuration). As my pals went up, I conjured various scenarios of how I would scale the tower quickly, get my harness on and jump…free like a bird. Simple, done in 10 min flat. I couldn’t get why everyone was taking so long to jump once the gate was open.And then I did…
Lesson 1: It’s always easy until you try it
Scaling the 60 meter tower looked easy from the ground…it was just a really really long ladder. But once on it and having climbed for forever you look up and realize that you are not even halfway up but you are sufficiently high that, going back down doesn’t make sense either. If you look up…discouragement….you look down…
In business, its always looks easy from “down there”. Guys are chokeful of advice on how to run your business while in the safe confines and safety of the ground and a paycheck. If you have an entrepreneur for a friend…give him respect…this shit is hard. If you are an entrepreneur once you get going…keep going. Periodically look up to see how much further you have to go, but focus on your next and most immediate step, and don’t forget to hang on tight.
Lesson 2: Enjoy the journey
As you go up the 60 meter ascent, you are tempted to only look at your next step. I stopped midway to take in the scenery from up there and it was glorious!
As an entrepreneur, you must enjoy the ride. Take time to smell the roses. You may not make it to the top and have a successful “exit” but the journey will have been worth the while
Lesson 3: Shut up and listen to Andreas
Andreas is the chap who owns the bungee jumping gig. Been there, done that, can scale up the damn thing blindfolded. When he is talking you shut up and listen.
It pays to have a mentor that has been in the same spot as you, even better if he has been there several times before and knows what he is taking about. You need to listen keenly and thereafter ask as many questions as you may have before the gate opens.
Lesson 4: Decide what you want and adjust accordingly…no promises
I wanted to “hit” the water on my descent and Andreas pulled out a chart did adjustments to the gear but concluded by saying…”No promises”.
When you get into business, you have an agenda and a goal. You can only make the necessary preparations based on research and intelligence…but its difficult to make hard and fast promises.
Lesson 5: You are your won worst enemy
Andreas took me through the drill, safety procedures and all. We even did mock “liftoffs” What would look good on camera? What’s the best macho pose? Then he said “Tell me when to open the gate” At that moment, its down to self. The weight of the rope tugs at your ankles, the wind whizzes past your ears, the cage rocks. This is the moment, your moment…the world at your feet quite literally. All the doubts and fears flood in, but you have come all this way…you can not…not jump!
Gate swings open…eyes closed or open? Hands out or across the chest? All inconsequential at this point in time. Count down from 10…nah ten seconds too long.
3-2-1 ….I am weightless, not sure what sensation this is I am feeling. Seconds later…SPLASH! And off I shoot back into the sky
In business, when your time to take the ultimate leap comes, most of the fear and doubt will come from within. Your mentor can only stand aside and say “When you are ready” or “If you need me to push, then I will” Once you take the leap; when you conqueror your fears, it will be like nothing you have ever experienced before…more so if you achieve the target that you set for yourself.
Lesson 6: Would you do it again
Sure…I will jump off that 60 meter tower any day, but that is unlikely to change the sensations and the experience of climbing up, getting into your harness, seeing the gate swing open and taking off.
Serial entrepreneurs go through the same thrills with every new venture. That the first one was successful, doesn’t mean that the next will be any easier. But hey, some of us live for the thrill.
Who am I kidding: take the plunge for yourself. Draw parallels from your own life. Find Andreas, about 96 kms out of Nairobi, direction Thika. Pass Thika, Kakuzi and after the TARDA bridge, it is about a further 10 kms to Riandira. Turn left at the whitewater rafting (Savage Wilderness Safaris) signboard on the main road and it is a further kilometer on a fairly good dirt road or just call him up – 254 020 7123094 Mobile: +254 (0)733 613132
I could swing you the longitude and latitude co-ordinates if your the techy type and wish to GPS your way there instead of looking for landmarks and stopping to ask for directions 🙂