Flying with the Founder: The Thrill of Skydiving

Founder and CEO, Nick Guida, has an array of hobbies. In addition to flying planes, he jumps out of them. Now he gives us an inside look at not only the activity itself, but what it takes physically and mentally to launch oneself from the safety of a plane into the wind.

I’ve always been fascinated with airplanes and anything air-related, so it was a normal thing for me to consider sky diving. My first experience skydiving was at the age of 16 - my mother gave consent and my father flat refused. I was able to jump with older people, so I learned quickly and got a C License before age 17 (which means 200 completed jumps and in freefall for at least 60 minutes). I always loved the idea of being in the air, and my first jump was so surreal. I was hooked.

Young Nick Guida (Left) Getting Ready to Skydive

I enjoy skydiving because I consider myself a collector of images and experiences. Skydiving is such a different, unique experience because of the adrenaline, the risk, and the rewards, it’s unlike anything else. The freedom to be able to do complicated maneuvers, being with adventurous, like-minded people, and just knowing as you fly to altitude that you’re going to jump out of the plane is a feeling unlike any other.

As you progress and complete more jumps, you’re able to do more. Many people think it’s just jumping out of an airplane while attached to a professional, but when you’re able to jump solo there’s obviously a lot you need to know and be able to do, including proper jump position, knowing how to pack your parachute, and how to land correctly. Then you get into the maneuvering, meeting up with friends in the air, and eventually choreography. There’s a whole other choreographed world apart from just jumping, it’s making formations and more accurate landings. The rush is being able to maneuver your body while hurtling through the air and pull your parachute, then being able to glide yourself to a certain landing spot.  

People are typically very afraid of skydiving, and if I was to give advice to someone before their first jump, I would say to put fear aside as best you can and just enjoy the experience. There is a lot of fear and perceived risk, and people think it’s so dangerous, but the reality is that many of the activities we do every day are much riskier. They say driving to the drop zone is more dangerous, but because we perceive that skydiving is a much higher risk than something we do every day, it seems scarier.  I would tell a first-time skydiver to use the experience to break down your internal limits, because after you do it successfully, you’ll ask yourself, what else am I afraid of that doesn’t make sense?

Skydiving is much like entrepreneurship. There's the anticipatory stage of packing your shoot - making sure it's done correctly, which is similar to making your business plan in that all necessary details need to be complete and correct to ensure success. Before a jump, you practice on the ground, go through any emergency procedures and you're prepared. With business, it's the same - you try to anticipate all outcomes. Entrepreneurs must be able to step out of their comfort zone, put their neck on the line, and as you build your business you learn and adapt to an ever-changing landscape. With skydiving, you learn and practice, build your confidence level, and you’re able to deal with all types of scenarios. The entrepreneurial spirit is one that is based on action and embraces challenges. It’s being bold enough to say this may not work, but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure, because failure doesn’t define you.

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