Empowering Your Year
You’ve had a blitzing year, perhaps a roller-coaster ride, perhaps your worst on record. Either way, what’s done is done. It’s time to digest, learn and move on. It’s time to empower your next year.
2013 – The Up
My year has been turbulent. It’s had it’s ups and downs. A roller coaster ride for sure. I’ve had some great times. Here’s a few of my highlights:
- World Champion. I won the ProBASE World Cup in Istanbul. It was a tough and different competition with strong and gusting winds and I didn’t win it in the way that I wanted to. But, all said and done, someone had to come out on top and it was me.
- World Record. I was privileged to form part of the large team that completed the Guinness World Record for the most tandem skydives in one day. Not only that but I was fortunate enough to do 4 of those jumps with Ben Parkinson MBE setting a personal record for him for the most jumps in one day.
- Marriage. I got married, twice, to the most amazing lady. The first time we were joined by a few friends where I donned an afro while my bride wore a gorgeous hippy dress. The second time was more traditional as I wore a suit (and Elyse in the most amazing dress). We stood on the beach with close family and friends as the sun set and the waves lapped at our feet. I did spice it up slightly and rapped to my new wife (get your own copy on iTunes or Amazon). We then had an amazing honeymoon in Thailand.
- TEDx. I spoke at three amazing TEDx events; Durham, the Houses of Parliament and Kansas City. Each one increased in size with the latter event being the largest TEDx event in the World. Each time I was blown away by the other speakers and the messages that were shared.
- Jump4Heroes. We released our Eiger video and the ‘Making Of’ with great results, sharing our message. Wherever we were jumping we flew our Poppy canopies and wingsuits. I even got to leap from the top of the Liberty Memorial World War One Museum, presenting the US flag to a Vietnam Veteran – certainly a heart stopping moment. We also teamed up with the Renegades Parachute Display Team to leap into the Run 2 Remember event and I released 30,000 poppies at an altitude of 1,111 feet on Remembrance weekend.
- Media. Online the Jump4Heroes YouTube channel has amassed 6.5 million views, dominated by our Eiger videos and our Italy proximity flight video. The Liberty Memorial jump received international coverage with a strong coast-to-coast response in the US. Various local media ran stories throughout the year. There’s also been an appearance on Japanese TV, the UK’s Channel 5 and on Epic TV. The ProBASE World Cup series was followed by a TV crew at every turn so stay tuned for that next year as well as a couple of pieces that I contributed to on Discovery Channel.
2013 – The Down
But there’s been some down sides:
- Flying High. I’ve lost friends and colleagues. BASE jumping can be an unforgiving sport. August was a particularly bad month. My Preventing Death post, and it’s second part, went viral and I hope that we can reduce the fatality rate. My Keep It Simple series of posts (particularly Part 1 and Part 3) also provides valuable advice in this area.
- Teamwork. The turbulence created with a range of changing and dynamic work schedules has made it difficult for the Jump4Heroes team to embark on major projects this year. As is the nature of our work (which is voluntary), our main project for the year was postponed with little time to create an alternative solution.
- Injury. Just over 2 years ago I took a hard landing while in a skydiving competition. I have been unable to fully recover and suffer from reduced feeling and sensation in my legs and the associated chronic pain. Late in 2013 I spent 3 weeks as an in-patient in the state-of-the-art Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court. Progress is slow but I know I’m in the best hands to enable as full a recovery as possible. I will return there shortly for my next 4-week admission.
2014 – The Future
Where does that leave me for 2014? I know it’s going to be an amazing year but I already know it’s going to be turbulent. I plan to make some major life changes but there are too many unknown factors at this time to allow me to fully share or to be more specific in my goals.
However, here’s where I plan to focus:
- Human Flight. I’m going to step it up a notch. There are novel projects in the pipeline and I plan to invest time and energy to bring them to fruition. Along with my Jump4Heroes team mates I plan to push my own limits, step out of my own comfort zone and challenge myself mentally and physically. The reality of these projects mean that some will fail at some stage but I’m not going to allow the risk or possibility of failure to influence the potential success. Incredible dreams require incredible acts; I have incredible dreams and need to act accordingly.
- Competition. I plan to continue to compete in the wingsuit BASE environment. I can certainly up my game and, coupled with the point below, I’m excited about where this will go.
- Wingsuit Technology. I have new wingsuits on order. My current suit, a Vampire 3 is at least 2 variations behind technology and was the only V3 being flown on the ProBASE World Cup circuit in 2013. The technology is outdated and I need the most effective and efficient tools to allow me to compete effectively and to step up to the mark. As I transition to a Tonysuit I will need to learn a different flying style and will be taking a few steps back before driving forward.
- Recovery. My recovery and rehabilitation needs to be a priority. I have a specialist appointment early in 2014 where I hope they will be able to isolate the issue and provide more clarity on the diagnosis. I need to concentrate on my rehabilitation and, should there be longer term limitations, I need to develop coping strategies.
- Leveraging. I need to work wiser and more efficiently. I can leverage better to gain maximum benefit from the projects that I, and my team, undertake. Whether that’s organising more, getting more people involved, providing additional resources or being smarter with media production, it needs to happen. I have plans in place to develop this further and have had been working with media partners to maximise on this.
- Writing. I will write more. I’m well on may to producing my first book and have more in the pipeline. There will be more blog posts and articles in print and online as well. Watch this space for more.
2013 was busy. I have a lot here already lined up for 2014 and I’m excited. It’s going to take hard work and dedication but I’m committed to making it happen.
This is going to be an incredible year and I plan to make strong and decisive acts to realise my incredible dreams. I will use my talents and skills, carefully balancing my strengths and weaknesses with my awesome team mates, fantastic and supportive family members and impressive array of unbelievable friends to ensure 2014 isn’t just my year but is our year. I plan to do my part to empower the year for all of us.
For those of you that I get share this journey with, I know it’s going to be exciting yet turbulent and I can’t wait to embrace these challenges with you.
Here’s to empowering our year.
Question: What are your plans for the year and how will you step it up a notch?