Saturday, April 10, 2010

Skydiving and lifestyle design

Okay, so we are all familiar with skydiving but what about lifestyle design? What is it? How does it apply to us as skydivers? It is no secret that as skydivers, we are a very unique breed. Most of us are a little bit daring and risky, we thrive off of that. The problem is many of us get caught up in life, work, and bills. Before we know it, it's been six months and we haven't done a single jump. I've been there many times, skydiving is a very expensive sport and it takes a lot of dedication (and debt) to keep doing it. Does it really need to so hard? Wouldn't be great if we could skydive all the time and still afford to pay all of our bills! In comes “Lifestyle Design”.

Lifestyle design is simply the art of (sometimes radical) lifestyle configuration and has been practiced for quite sometime by liberated people from all walks of life, not just skydivers. This isn't for everybody but like I said... skydivers are a unique breed. Now we need to ask ourselves, what changes can we make to our lifestyle that will help us lead a more fulfilling life? First, some examples. How about the girl that lives in a trailer next to the DZ and packs parachutes all day in order to pay for jumps. Or what about that couch surfing guy that travels and jumps all over the world. While these individuals are notional, you see people like this all the time, living it up. What they have done is eliminate almost all of their financial obligation and now they can just focus on what they love.

Alright, but what about the rest of us that want to live our lives a little more normal. I understand, the important thing is that you are doing what you want to do. If your perfectly happy just working a 9 to 5 and you get a lot of satisfaction out your work, then by all means stick with it. However, if you are like most people, you hate your job and your desperately looking for an out. It's sad but truth be told, most people will probably stay there for the rest of their miserable careers simply because of fear. Fortunately for me, I realized all this while I was still fairly young (24). Fresh out of the Marines I had a good job up in Washington, I liked the people that I worked with, and at times the job was actually a lot of fun. The problem was, I wasn't happy. I was unhappy partly because of my job and the long hours that I worked but mostly because I only had about 3 months of good skydiving weather. Finally I said “screw it”. I quite my job, started a business, and moved in with an old Marine Corps buddy in California that lived about 5 minutes from a dropzone. That was over a year and a half ago and I have not worked since, I could not be happier. My business does not make me rich but between it and a few Marine Corps assignments here and there, I do okay. The business I started was which some of you may be familiar with. Before I started the business I wanted to create a men necklace that would appeal to skydivers. Naturally, I started making closing pin necklaces and people really liked them. While initially my main focus was to make a cool guy necklace, I noticed that a lot of women were ordering them too. I was surprised at how much people liked my products. They would even write me about their new cool necklaces and the comments they got about them. I was thrilled so I started making more designs and marketing a little more aggressively. I started making a hemp necklace which I had never done before because it was so labor intensive but now I have several hemp designs. I have had a blast building this business and I have learned a lot, I even have a couple of other start-ups that I am working on. This is my lifestyle design. I have eliminated a part of my life that made me unhappy and replaced it with something that fills me with joy, you should do the same.