It's warming. In the last
few weeks, the temperature at jump altitude has moderated. The blast of air
as we roll up the door on the skydiving plane at 15,000 feet is no longer frigid.
Two days ago, it was even a relatively moderate 42 degrees (F).
We're no longer likely to
feel the sting of ice crystals on our faces as we fall through a thin layer
of frozen moisture. Jumpers are starting to leave their heavy, winter layers
on the ground. Under canopy, it's mild. The time between freefall and landing
is becoming more playful - to be enjoyed and not just tolerated.
From 1,000 feet in the air,
you can start to notice a swath of orange and yellow emerging from within the
fields of green. The wildflower seeds have weathered another winter. They are
sending forth their glorious reminder of Spring, of another winter past.
Even in the midst of the
adrenaline soaked sport of skydiving, while hurling ourselves from aircraft
miles above the ground, while clamoring to arrest our freefall and save our
lives, there is the opportunity to cherish the reminders of the coming of Spring
and the hope it brings with it.
Few things focus ones attention
better than the challenge of surviving a skydive. There is a joyous clarity
of purpose in freefall. The balance of life's issues melt away.
But the single-mindedness
that is required to survive a jump can also assure that the experience is nothing
more than survived. It can take an extraordinary experience, one most people
will never know, the closest a person can come to joining birds in flight and
make it into a exercise of survival. But if we are willing to maintain our peripheral
vision in the face of this life threatening challenge, a willingness to be more
aware, it can be an adventure of the senses. It is our choice. It always is.
And this is much like weathering
an economic slowdown. You will likely survive by keeping an absolute focus on
surviving, or you can take advantage of opportunities by maintaining your peripheral
In the midst of an economic
lull, of a slump in sales, of a profit crunch, we become very focused. The challenge
is clear. Revenues growth and profit margins must be restored. There is clarity
But in the frenzy of single-mindedness,
as all other goals become secondary, are you missing opportunities? Are you
missing the signs of an economic Spring? You must not.
This economic slowdown will
pass. And so far, it is barely a slowdown. It is more like a runner taking a
welcome rest between sprints. When it has passed, what will be the state of
your customer relationships? When optimism is restored, will devastatingly costly
employee turnover increase? How about the vendor relationships you have worked
so hard to develop. Will your extraordinary efforts that went into creating
them be negated by short-term decisions during this time of uncertainty?
Yes, there is a clarity
of purpose in a time of economic uncertainty. It may not be the time for new
initiatives. But lapsing into a survival mentality, while perhaps successful
at restoring revenues and profitability, comes at a potentially enormous cost.
Don't miss the signs for
a economic Spring. Don't miss the inexpensive opportunities to bolster a client
relationship or exploit a passing opportunity because your laser-like focus
on improving profitability and revenues has cost you your peripheral vision.
Be the one who sees the emerging Spring wildflowers first. Stay open the possibilities
there to be noticed and developed. It will be a richer experience, more than
just financially. You'll be taking a risk, but all great accomplishments require