- Countless launches and landings
- Fear went, gratitude came
- The 4 plus 1 factors of success
- 4 plus 1 make you a surefire success
Success doesn’t happen by chance. It only comes when there is fertile soil for it. And this fertile soil consists of 4 plus 1 factors – they form a pattern, instructions for success. I got to know this pattern whilst paragliding in Namibia and it is not only applicable to sports, but also for professional contexts.
Twenty years ago, I started with the activity that would become one of the greatest passions of my life: a few friends took me with them to a paragliding course – and I lit up. At the end of the course, where we learned to fly down mountains that were approximately 400 meters high and to land safely in the valley, I got my flying license. Despite this, I was anything but a good paraglider. I landed in trees and fences and I was not only afraid at the beginning, but also during the flight and the landing. Despite this: being in the air, watching the world from above, only the sail and the sky above me, was simply the best!
Countless launches and landings
Shortly afterward, paragliding slid into the background: I got a job offer in New York and took it up. However, two years later, after my return, I wanted to fly again. Should have been possible with a weekend course to refresh my experiences! No way! In this course, I met the previous world paragliding champion, André Bucher, and he convinced me that I only needed a weekend to become a respectable and secure paraglider.
He told me about a flying area where the best training conditions can be found: perfect wind from 10 o’clock in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, heaps of sand for soft landings and also very good infrastructure, untouched nature and ideal weather. In a word: Namibia.
In the following three years I spent more than twelve weeks in this fantastic country and learned to paraglide – but this time, correctly! To really be able to control this sport and to be able to fly stress-free, you have to be sure of yourself when launching and landing. So I practiced. More than 1 000 launches and landings per week. Since then, I have been going to Namibia every two or three years for one to two weeks to refresh my technique, to learn something new and to realign my senses and perceptions again.
Fear went, gratitude came
After the first week with my new trainer André Bucher, paragliding had become a part of my body and my nervous system. Everything that I had to do during launch, flying and landing become intuitive at some point. I wasn’t afraid anymore. I could handle rough flying and weather conditions, like the ones in the Alps, for example. I loved every single second, the fear was gone. I got my motor paragliding license and the tandem license so that I could take other people with me and offer them this wonderful experience. I went paragliding in every corner of the world.
I am very grateful to be able to belong to some of the few people who have flown the highest sand dunes in Namibia and therefore the world – an experience that cannot be described with either words or images. To float 200 meters above a 400 meter high dune or steeply fly up a mountain whilst the sun sets, the landscape shrouded in a magical light and a sea of red dunes rolling towards me – unbelievable. The most beautiful thing for me today is to walk up a mountain with my paraglider backpack, to sleep on top of the mountain and then to fly down the next morning at sunrise and eat breakfast with my family.
The 4 plus 1 factors of success
In my paragliding “career” I followed the intuitive 4 plus 1 factors, a pattern that is for me today instructions for success. They look like this:
1. Leave your comfort zone and the old beaten track. Take new ones.
After I completed my first paragliding course, I was a lousy paraglider. Luckily I think found an excellent trainer who taught me. He was, above all, a good teacher because he managed to permanently take me out of my comfort zone and bring me into my stretching zone. That is the area in which you expand beyond your boundaries and further develop yourself – without falling into the fatal stress zone, in which further development and learning are blocked. And it was not only in learning with my teacher that I found myself on the other side of my comfort zone – Namibia itself was a big challenge for me, a totally new environment, a new culture, way higher travel expenses, daily life characterized by completely different adversities and uncertainties. All of that instilled a great respect in me. I has pursued a completely new path.
2. Build your success from lots of small successes
I didn’t become a successful and safe paraglider in one day. This large success is comprised of many small ones. Many little steps that became one large step. I was in Namibia very often, totaling multiple months, and I trained every day. I did thousands, maybe tens of thousands of launches and landings. Normally, in one training week, a paraglider does 30 to 40 flights. During my training in Namibia, I did hundreds of launches and landings every day. Success comes from repetition. One hundred times, one thousand times, tens of thousands of times. And each successful repetition counts toward overall success.
3. Act within your core – where your passion, substance, experience and your mission overlap.
Always travelling to Namibia, investing a lot of time and money into a private hobby, to be trained by one of the best trainers in the world, and to grow continually – that can only be done if you have a burning desire. And not only for the sport, also for nature, for Namibia, for learning and experiencing new things every day. In other words: I was passionate. And through living this passion I built up substance and experience. Apart from that, I had a mission: I wanted to become a secure and sovereign paraglider. I never wanted to feel the fears and uncertainties that I felt with every launch and landing at the beginning of my paragliding career. More still: I wanted to be one of the best in the specialist discipline of ground handling – that is flying close to the ground. I wanted to learn how I could launch myself securely from any starting point in the Alps – maybe not a real starting place, but a scree field. To climb some favorite mountain and fly up to the peak: that was my dream. This mission drove me. I gave it my all. At some point I acted from my core – bringing my passion for flying with my substance, experience and mission. As soon as this happened, success was programmed.
4. Generate two millimeters’ difference
There are people who suffer from a lack of confidence because, for example, they find their nose too large. Then they go to the plastic surgeon and get their nose made two millimeters smaller and an astounding change comes into play. This change doesn’t come from the fact that their nose is two millimeters smaller; hardly anyone notices this. The change comes a lot more from their inner attitude that of the person who underwent the surgery. They speak of themselves differently, have new, better posture, and no longer focus on their perceived ugly physiognomy, they look in the mirror every morning at their new nose and are happy about it. The result: they radiate self-confidence. I experienced something similar with paragliding. It became clear to me what my passion is, where I offer substance and experience and, additionally, I had a mission, a calling that drove me – and so I radiated the clarity, security and sovereignty automatically. This has almost a magical pull for other people. I founded the largest and most extensive online presence for paragliders (http://www.paragliding365.com/ – in German), I attended fairs, I took other people flying with me. If I didn’t have a clear awareness of what I stand for in this context and what matters to me, I couldn’t have done this. These are the two millimeters.
4 plus 1 make you a surefire success
Today I know: these four factors that I have listed form a pattern for instructions for success. This is not only true for private hobbies and passions, but also for your professional career: leave your comfort zone, get into your stretch zone, take up new areas consciously. Be aware of the fact that many small successes lead to long-lasting success. Each small change, each small iteration, each small repetition pays into a large success – even if it doesn’t feel like it at that moment. Become aware of where your passions lie, what constitutes your experience and your substance. What you can do and what you know, which talents you have that you can build on, which value contributions you make. And also become conscious of what you are lacking in some areas in order to be really good. Find the people with whom you can work on improving these abilities. Find your calling, your mission, learn what drives you to do what you do. And then become conscious of how all these components contribute to the two millimeter difference. Observe and be proud of how your charisma in interactions with other people has changed, in conversations, at fairs, in lectures, and how it continues to change. How secure, sovereign and clear you have become. How precisely you know what you can do and what contribution you make. Others will perceive this radiance and react accordingly – in that you can be trusted to do what you do. Clients or employers will engage you in these areas, trust you with tasks, etc. And so your success will become a self-strengthening system.
If you have internalized these success factors or this pattern for success and you have become conscious of the position in which your professional tasks can interact with your passion, your substance, your experiences and your missions – then a whole new world has been opened to you. I have not only used these success factors for paragliding, but also in many professional contexts. And where I didn’t do it, it can be seen in the results… ;-). On this note: I wish you lots of success!
Torsten Koerting – THE GAME CHANGER
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