Leadership lessons from life: It’s OK to be out of control, sometimes


Business StorytellingRecently we facilitated a business storytelling workshop when Candice Lance, Communications and Events Officer shared this story.  Business storytelling that  had us on the edge of our seats, was funny and had a simple yet powerful message.  It also took only about a minute or so to tell and demonstrates how you can use personal experiences as the basis for your stories.  Ticks all our boxes for business storytelling.

The plane had just reached 12,000 feet – I was sitting on the edge of the open door. The time had come, it was my turn.  In just a split second my mind raced – what was I thinking, what did I have to do, what did they tell me, was the guy behind me having a good day, was this such a good idea?

Didn’t really matter what the answer was to any of those questions – I was out the door, no turning back. I was bending like a banana, holding on like I was told, remembering my training and plummeting towards the ground – I was tandem sky diving!  

What a rush. I was flying. I was free. As we continued to fall I remembered the videos of this moment as people landed safely on the ground crying and hugging their instructor I thought, ‘what saps I would never do that’.  Moments later my feet touched the ground I was jumping up and down,  hugging my instructor, crying – yes what a sap!  

I am not sure if I would go sky diving again, but I did learn a lesson or two. Sometimes it is OK to let go, some times it’s OK to be out of control. And it is definitely OK to trust your training and the people who are the trained experts.

You got to love it – personal experiences as the basis for your stories! Where else have you seen this done well?  Please comment below and share your experiences with us.  Thanks.

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7 Comments
  • Gabrielle Dolan
    Reply

    Avinash, the story also had a personal connection for me. 12 years ago while holidaying in Turkey I jumped not out of a plane but off the side a mountain. I remember some of the risk factor being removed because I really thought I was going to die in the truck ride up the mountain there was no way I was going to ‘chicken out’ of the jump and get back in that truck to go down the mountain.

    I often recall that personal encounter when leaders say that storytelling is taking a risk..’what if it doesn’t work?’. Of which I reply ‘the real risk is doing what you have been doing knowing that doesn’t work…take the lesser risk’.

    The feeling of landing is amazing. Gabrielle

  • Avinash Vasudevan
    Reply

    Short, powerful and in my case an ’emotional connection’ is probably key especially after having done a tandem sky dive 6 yrs ago. Yes the feeling of ‘handing over’ your life to an expert in the field is always nerve recking but again the natural tendency to ‘doubt the outcome’ (be it 5-10%) is always evident, much like when you get into a new venture and or join a new employer (i.e. what does the future hold? have I made the right decision?). Though the feeling during that 40-50 seconds of free fall cannot be expressed easily, that same feeling translated over one’s career span of 40-50 yrs can only be cherished at the end of their career, which I look forward to.

    • Yamini Naidu
      Reply

      Thanks Avinash for sharing your sky diving experience. The keys you have suggested for sky diving could be applied to business storytelling – short, powerful and creating and ’emotional connection’. Who would have thought sky diving and business storytelling would have so much in common?!
      Regards
      Yamini

  • Reply

    That is definitely a great story. I wonder what it takes for us to connect with an experience in which we realise that: “Sometimes it is OK to let go, some times it’s OK to be out of control. And it is definitely OK to trust your training and the people who are the trained experts.”

    • Yamini Naidu
      Reply

      Tiffany you are right. The experience we might have had does not have to be as dramatic as sky diving – even stuff like moving house, settling into a new job might create ‘pings’ for your audience. They would have had similar experiences, maybe in more mundane everyday situations where they have had to let go and it’s been OK.
      Regards
      Yamini

  • Louise Thomson
    Reply

    I love it! I haven’t and don’t intend to sky-dive, however I have had many similar experiences and could definitely adapt the story. Thanks, Louise

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