So many emotions! Excitement, nervousness, anxiousness, fear. These were the many emotions that were spinning through my head this past weekend the moment I was standing right outside the door frame of an airplane looking down 14,500 feet on Luling, Texas.
I’ve been waiting for 15 years to check skydiving off my bucket list and I’m happy to say that I finally did. I never really had a fear of heights. As a matter of fact, I always was excited by heights. The higher the elevation, the more challenged I felt. As cliché as this may sound, part of my personal philosophy in life is to live life to the fullest. Talk about carpe diem or Live like you are dying. When people set goals that they want to achieve, a lot of the times, they end up doing nothing to achieve them. As the famous Brazilian lyricist, Paulo Coelho, once said, “One day, you’ll wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.”
Why did I wait until I was 22 though? What was holding me back this entire time? It’s questions like these that have been spinning in my mind since I jumped off the plane. It’s always been a bucket list goal of mine.
Ever since I started working with SOS Leadership this past June, the founder, Billy Moyer, has been having me complete these weekly personal/professional development lessons as a part of the company’s goals program. The purpose of these process-oriented lessons are to help an individual reach their personal achievement by having the individual identify their personal goals and what they can do to help achieve them. Each week’s lesson plan incorporates some type of activity as well to help the individual identify what they truly want. For instance, in the last lesson, I created a Top Ten List. In other words, of the 20 personal and professional goals that I came up with my first week as an intern, I had to narrow it down to my top ten. Skydiving was one of them.
How did I pick out my top ten? I applied the SMART criteria. I asked myself if each goal was specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-limited. If a goal completely met the SMART criteria, it made it to my top ten. Initially, I had a little more than ten goals that qualified for my top ten based on the SMART criteria. From there, I then asked myself what I truly want to accomplish in life.
The greatest challenges that impede or prevent us from achieving our goals is lack of clarity. Before anything can be physically accomplished, it must first be mentally accomplished. Mental accomplishment requires clarity. You must be certain you know what you want to achieve before you begin the process.
I could blame money as the excuse as for why I didn’t skydive earlier in my life. I could point fingers and say no one would do it with me. People often blame life’s circumstances for their failure to achieve their goals. In reality, you’re the only one in complete control of achieving your goals. Get rid of all the hesitations. I get it. Rules and regulations force you to play it safe. But without a little risk, how are you going to reach the top?
After learning so much about goal setting from Billy, I decided to take the initiative and call up my dad to go skydiving with me. He said yes! As I continue to learn more and more about leadership and achieving my goals, I’ll be able to say goodbye to the Meili who hesitates and hello to the Meili that says “bring it on”!
Meili West currently serves as a Organizational Development Specialist for SOS Leadership. She is a student at St. Edward’s University where she will graduate in December.