From The Mag

Listen to the Churn

Which fish are you?
Written by James La Barrie

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Originally printed in issue #84 (December 2016) of Blue Skies Magazine.
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I believe we all have something churning within us—some goal or desire that we suppress because we either don’t have time, it doesn’t pay the bills or the sacrifice of giving it attention seems too great.

This ‘thing’ may seem like it’s far away, but it’s just below the surface of your subconscious. You’ve dreamed about it and maybe one day, one day, you’ll get to it. It’s not unlike so many first-time skydivers who know that at some point they will do this thing that seems greater than themselves … and then they finally do it.

Once they’ve done it, they wish they had jumped sooner. What held them back? Fear? The people around them who say they’re crazy? Money? Probably combinations of all these things.

We see these stories every weekend at every DZ and these stories are no different than our own. So, what’s your tandem skydive?

SDC Rhythm XP

Having just returned from the U.S. Nationals, I finally got to meet Steve and JaNette Lefkowitz, the founding members of SDC Rhythm XP. These two grounded people went to MIT and are full time, professional skydivers.

Imagine what people must have thought when these two Ivy League graduates announced their plans to jump professionally.

Like anyone with the churn, they sat down and crunched numbers, talked about what needed to happen in order to pursue their goals, made a plan and took the first step. Fortunately, Steve and JaNette listened to their guts as opposed to the naysayers with their common sense.

Missy Keough

If you follow Missy Keough on Facebook (if you don’t, you need to follow her now) you can watch, in real time, someone going through the challenges of listening to that gut churn and going for it. Is she scared to have left her entire life in Wisconsin and all that’s familiar and comfortable to make her pilgrimage to DeLand and join Aerodyne? She’s petrified. Several posts have said, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Spoiler alert: She did great.

Leaving anything secure seems crazy. Society teaches us to be risk averse. Go to school, work hard, earn a good paycheck and live happily ever after. Today’s millennials are thriving while bucking that trend. In order for you to live the life you want, you’ll need to take some risk. I’m a fan of this generation who has seen that the way of life preached by Gen X’ers doesn’t guarantee great happiness. Life isn’t and won’t be free of worry no matter the life you live, so we may as well do what our heart is calling for us to do.

PD New Beginning

As for Missy, everyone who knows her already knows her outcome. She’s going to be successful because she’s put everything on the line. She is going to make things happen because she has to and because she has the one element that everyone needs to be successful: passion.


Passion is the intangible that drives people. If you follow the National Football League, you’ll know that every year before the draft, they host the NFL Scouting Combine. The combine is used to evaluate every player to help determine who has the highest potential to excel in the NFL and ultimately make the biggest impact on the teams they will join.

Each player is evaluated on things like how fast they run to how high they jump to the span of their hands. Every conceivable metric is measured and nearly every year the so-called experts get it wrong.

Tom Brady is regarded as the greatest NFL quarterback in history and he’s still playing. Since joining the Patriots, he has been to the Super Bowl six times and has won four. He was drafted in the sixth round. The intangible that cannot be measured is heart. If you’ve got the guts to take the risk, your passion will sustain you.

Listen to Your Heart.

I want to share something honest. I’m afraid of success. I am more fueled by my fear of failure than I am by my dreams. I am insecure and filled with self-doubt, but here I am, passionately building something. Thank God I took the risk to give this a try.

If you’re still reading, then something is resonating. Don’t suppress that churn any longer. Acknowledge it. You don’t have to sell everything you own overnight, but you need to make a plan. Write down the first step so you can get to your second step and before long you’ll be running to your goal.

2017 is one month away. Will this be the year that you allow yourself to be vulnerable and take the risk in order to pursue that “thing” that’s gnawing at you? I hope you will.

Wanna talk about it? E-mail me.

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