The Hang Glider’s Approach to Kick-Starting Your Dreams

Hang Gliding Running Out

We arrived to the top of Pedra Bonita, or “Beautiful Rock” as it’s translated. To us, it might as well been translated to “the really high mountain we’re about to run off of.”

We strapped on our harness and quickly learned we were next. Really?  To my surprise, there were no instructions. I didn’t expect a formal class, but a girl could use a 5-10 minute lesson on how to jump off a cliff without dying. I hadn’t been nervous but all sudden I had a twinge in the pit of my stomach.

“No worries”, said my pilot/tandem partner. “Here’s what you do. I count to 3, we start running, and when we reach the end, don’t stop.”

That was it?

“Whatever you do, don’t stop running! You stop, we die. Let’s go.”

So we did. He counted to 3, we ran, and we didn’t stop. We were hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro and it was awesome!

What could have happened?

I could have played the “what ifs” in my head. I could have decided it was a terrible decision and wimped out. I could have missed an experience because of fear.

Fear paralyzes action.

Hang Gliding Take Off

Applying the same approach to Kick Starting Your Dreams

Remember that time you had the best idea ever? Maybe it was:

  • An innovative product you wanted to create
  • A wonderful way to help those less fortunate
  • A dream to study Spanish in Argentina, learn to paint in Italy, or travel the world

You were over-the-moon excited. Motivated. Inspired. That is until you got to the launch pad, realized you alone without a co-pilot, and decided it was a stupid idea. All the sudden you were not interesting enough, smart enough, or clever enough.

You second-guessed everything. You second-guessed yourself.

Just like wanting to hang glide, you can be geared up and ready to go, but the doubts creep in your head. Those pesky little gremlins tell you it will be too risky, or you won’t know how to do it, or it’s just something other people do…not you. These voices are sneaky and if you’re not careful, can outwit you. They are mean little bastards.

So what do you do? Here are 3 tips I use:

1. Think about the others who came before you.

I never had a fear of roller coasters. Why? As a kid I had a trick. I’d think about the thousands of people who just successfully rode the roller coaster before me. Nothing bad happened and they returned with smiles on their faces. Therefore, the likelihood of something catastrophic happening on my ride was pretty irrational.

Do you have a dream? Think about the thousands of people who are achieving dreams everyday and how they are no different from you. When you’re in your daily routine, your dream may seem far-flung. For me, people in my inner circle are not traveling the world, starting a blog or moving to Africa. But go online and you’ll find thousands of people all fulfilling similar dreams. Seek them out. Seeing others achieving like goals feels less random. And if they can make the jump, so can you.

 2. Surround yourself with a trusted posse.

When I went hang-gliding I had the right people with me-an expert pilot and a supporter, my best friend.

You’ll definitely want Experts and Supporters in your trusted posse. And sometimes they overlap.


There is a difference between trusting the process and being naive. My pilot was a 23-year veteran, not some hack who happened to be the cheapest. This was someone who knew what they were doing, so when he said, “trust me” I knew I could.

If you have a dream, find someone who’s done it successfully. Even better? Find a few of them. With the Internet at your fingertips, this isn’t as hard as it once was. It’s a world of blogs, eBooks, online classes, mentors, and forums-a plethora of knowledge to have at your disposal. Don’t be lazy; find them. These are people you can learn from-plus they’ll keep you motivated and make your dream feel attainable.


Goals never look as scary or insane with support by your side. They may not make the “jump” with you, but they can be there for the take off and landing.

With your supporters:

  • State your dream out loud. Make it a real goal, not what you’ve just been sorta-kinda thinking about.
  • Run your fantastic, life changing ideas by them. Big kudos have a funny way of settling loud-mouthed insecurities.
  • Accept constructive advice. But don’t quit…modify. Not everything is gold from the start. Remember spray on hair for balding? I guarantee that guy didn’t have good friends to tell him the truth.

If any Negative Losers come into your posse, rethink the relationship. Friends should build you up, not tear you down. I think it’s somewhere in the contract.

3. Remember everyone starts at the same launch pad.

When you have a dream, do you ever feel defeated from the beginning because you don’t know anything? You feel too far behind other people who have achieved similar aspirations?

In your mind:

  • You can’t travel the world; you haven’t even been out of the country
  • You can’t be a graphic designer; you don’t know Photoshop
  • You can’t be a photographer; you can’t work a DSLR camera

Can’t schman’t.

The most successful people weren’t always successful. They weren’t always professionals knowing the in’s and out’s of their trade.

Everyone starts not knowing anything!

And if you feel like you’re behind, start anyway. Do you know how fast a couple years go by? In a year, two years, five years, you’ll either be an expert, or you’ll still be saying it’s too late.

The only difference between you and the people you admire is they ignored the voices in their head and continued to jump. They made it happen.

Hang Gliding

“Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.”

- Ray Bradbury

The next time you have a brilliant idea or dream to achieve, remember to approach it like a hang-glider. Don’t hesitate, don’t stop running, and enjoy the view!

Do you have a dream you want to achieve? Big or small I’d love to hear about it!


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