Back in my Army days, I was a paratrooper. I first earned my airborne wings when I entered the service and later on earned my Jumpaster wings as a sergeant. I eventually earned my Master Paratrooper wings after having sixty-five parachute jumps under my belt with a certain number of those as the Jumpmaster.
Parachute jumps in the military are not like the ones you see on television or the movies where a bunch of cool looking people wearing sandals strap on some parachutes and freefall out of a little sport plane. Most military parachute jumps are under conditions that simulate a military combat invasion. Masses of soldiers jumping out at night, with a lot of equipment, at low levels from a military cargo plane. These are mostly miserable and in reality pretty scary. The plane takes an evasive route to get to the drop zone. The paratroopers are packed like sardines in the hot, smelly back of the aircraft. When the time for the jump comes, they pile out of the doors and parachutes fill the dark sky. There is a chance of the parachute not open, entanglements with other paratroopers and landing in on/in a tree, rock,etc.
Limiting Jump Refusals
So…you are probably asking why am I talking about military parachute operations in a personal development, small business development blog. Because we didn’t get a lot of quitters during these jumps. A person who quit during the middle of a parachute operation was called jump refusal. They would be asked one time if they wanted to continue. If they said they didn’t want to continue. they would be taken to the front of the airplane, strapped in and would ride back with the airplane. They would be out of the parachute unit the next day sent to a unit where they did not jump anymore.
In spite of it being very scary and relatively easy to quit, very, very few did. The reason for this is that we had a very firm set of procedures that we went through during the parachute jump. These procedures got us in motion for the jump. It formed a framework for making sure we did everything required and created momentum for those who were having doubts not to think about them, rather concentrate on the jump procedure.
On the ground, we would go through pre-jump training where we rehearsed what would happen on the airplane, what would happen in the air after jumping out and what would happen upon landing. This got us ready and set in our minds what success looked like. In the airplane, the jumpmasters had specific commands that they would give leading up to jumping out the door.
- Get Ready – (Everyone, everyone repeated each command) The paratroopers would wake each other up
- Outboard Personnel Stand Up – People in the outside rows would stand up
- Inboard Personnel Stand Up – People in the inside rows would stand up
- Hook Up – We would hook up the lines that would eventually pull out our parachutes
- Check Equipment – We would check certain critical elements of our equipment
- Sound Off for Equipment Check – Starting at the end of the line, the each person would slap on the shoulder the one in front of them yelling okay, until it ended up at the front where the person would go “All, okay Jumpmaster!”
The Jumpmaster then would go through a series of checks. At one minute he would give the time warning “One Minute!” At ten seconds out, he would give the command “Stand in the Door!” Finally upon the green light from the pilot, he gives “Go!” and would we would go into the night sky. All of these commands and repeats of commands were shouted with enthusiasm.
Creating a Framework and Momentum
This gave us a framework and momentum. We knew what to expect. Each jump was the same each time. The dropzone could be in Alabama, Germany, Panama. It was the same. There wasn’t a lot to think about, just the next command, next action. The confidence, enthusiasm of the the Jumpmasters and our fellow jumpers created momentum. It was almost impossible to become a jump refusal. It would be like trying to stop the tide.
You can and should create this same sort for framework and momentum for your goals, either personal or professionally. In my GET CLIENTS NOW!™ program we create a framework for marketing and attracting new business that has daily practices that keep professionals from being distracted from their goal of bringing in and closing clients. When I work with individuals we create a goal with steps for attaining that goal. I act as an accountability partner that creates the framework for staying on track. Momentum is created by using these frameworks over and over again until it becomes second nature. It is also created by using coaches, business associates, friends, and family as accountability partners who know what your goals are, what your daily activities are and hold you accountable to what you say you wanted in your life. This pressure keeps you moving, building momentum.
While I know that adding clients to your business, a weight loss goal, or a change in a career is not the same of as a military jump. At the same time, I know it can get pretty scary out there. Create a way for you to keep going when it gets tough.
Photos : Flickr:The U.S. Army