Parachute Story

 In Blog

I was 13 years old when my brother-in-law gave me a parachute.

He was in the Air Force and brought me home a little parachute they used for cargo. It was about the size of a fitted sheet. I knew, as a 13-year-old, I had to do something special with it. I wasn’t stupid enough to jump off the roof with it, but I had to do something. I mean, my god, I had a freakin’ parachute!

I tied it in a bundle under the seat on my bicycle and strung the ripcord to the handlebar. I rode to the top of a hill on the dirt road I lived on and off I went. I pedaled as hard as I could, building up speed, already picturing in my mind the glorious sight and sensation of the ‘chute billowing out behind me. This was going to be one of the biggest moments of my young life.

Now I’m going as fast as I could down this hill, I reached out and pulled the ripcord. Almost instantly, everything went wrong.

The parachute and the cords got tangled up in the rear tire, instantly bringing it to a halt. The bike wavered a few times before I went down hard. I landed on my left side tangled in the cords as I skidded down the dirt road for probably a half-mile. Okay, maybe not that far but much further than I’d imagined possible, leaving chunks of 13-year-old Dave along the path. I still have scars on my left arm and side from this adventure.

Fast forward eight years. I land my first morning show at KLUC Las Vegas. I’d never done mornings before; I had no real idea what I was doing and there was a good chance of failing. Then I’d have to move back home to live with mom and dad. This time, it worked out. The show worked, I loved doing mornings and here I am now all these years later doing exactly what I love to do.

What do the parachute story and the KLUC story have in common?

At no time in either situation did I ever stop to think, “What could go wrong?”
I was so young and naïve and inexperienced in aerodynamics and radio; I had no idea that it might not go exactly the way I envisioned it! I blissfully and stupidly just plunged headfirst into both, knowing it would work out just fine.

But what happens as we get older and smarter? We start to question things.
What if I fail? What if this relationship doesn’t work out? What if I can’t learn to spin a basketball on my fingertip?

Our older, wiser brains tell us, “Well then don’t try to learn to spin a basketball on your fingertip. Take a nap instead. You won’t fail at that!”

I encourage you to fight what your brain is saying and go take a chance. Take that job. Go on a date. Do that bit that might fail miserably. Create some content that’s nothing like you’ve done before. Post that Tweet that might raise some eyebrows. Tell a disgusting story about yourself on the air. It’s much more likely to work than you might believe!

Okay, some things aren’t worth taking a risk with. Holding up a liquor store might have its rewards, but some might claim there are too many inherent risks.  Making fun of a client on the air probably won’t get the results you’re hoping for. However, taking some chances on the radio during your show is pretty much a requirement for success in an age where there are so many platforms fighting for your listeners’ attention.

Don’t overthink what you’ll do with your “parachute.” You never know what amazing results you might get if you take a little risk.

By Dave Ryan

Photo by Kamil Pietrzak on Unsplash

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