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Red Devils

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

- Leonardo da Vinci

Last week I was lucky enough to do a tandem skydive. It was a 50th birthday present that my daughters bought for me, and they were there to jump with me.

The actual jump itself was an amazing experience. I have parachuted before, but never a free fall.

Nothing like jumping out of a plane to make you feel alive !!

The organisers of the jump were the Red Devils the parachute display team of the British Parachute Regiment. As the instructors were getting ready for the jump. They put on their parachutes, did up all the buckles and then they did a buddy check on each other. I thought this was really interesting. These guys had done 1000s of jumps (in fact my instructor had done 3500 jumps) but before they went up to jump, every time they had some one check that they had not forgotten to tighten a buckle, or that a strap was in the wrong place or something else not set up correctly.

I remember when I used to scuba dive a lot, even after 100s of dives we still did buddy checks just before exiting the boat – check the air is on, check the reserve works, check all the connections were solid.

Clearly in these situations a buddy check is performed because a mistake could be fatal. However, it made me think – what else in our business or personal life could we benefit from a buddy check, but our ego prevents us from asking or we don’t think we have anyone we can talk to.

Let’s look at some personal examples that are not life threatening, but could be life changing. Personal finances seems to be a taboo topic that no one wants to discuss with a “buddy”, but how often (unless you are a professional in the finance industry) would you like to ask for a “buddy check” on your finances ? Are there any holes, are you heading for a crash ?

What about our personal relationships ? Who do we turn to for a buddy check on our close intimate relationships ? Again another subject that many people, especially men, find it very difficult to talk to someone about.

Looking at business, who does a “buddy check” on your career ? Do you have a mentor or several mentors you can talk to as a buddy check on your career ? If you don’t how do you check that you are on track ?

What about sales people ? Some of the biggest egos around………… how often do we as sales people feel that we know everything, that we are doing all the right things to close a deal, that we know everything about our clients ? How often do sales people ask for a colleague to listen to them do a final presentation or help them prepare for an important call ?

Imagine a “buddy check” from a colleague just before you leave the office to head into an important client meeting, or a “buddy check” before you go into an important employee meeting ?

The men of the parachute regiment are some of the toughest in the world, however they see it is critical for their colleagues to buddy check that they are doing the right things…………so why wouldn’t we all have a buddy check for the important things in our lives ?

Who are your “buddies ?” – how could you build a network of “buddies” that you could call on for different “buddy checks”.

This week’s YouTube clip a view of the Red Devils

Have a great week……………………………….. Neil…………………….

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