How I Leapt Off A 22-Storey Building And Lived To Tell About It

Would you leap off of a 22-storey building?

I did. Specifically, the building in the center of this picture…

Here’s How It Happened…

A few years ago, when I lived in Winnipeg Manitoba, I heard about an event where people raised funds for charity and, as part of the fundraising, they could rappel down one of the skyscrapers downtown. It sounded like SO MUCH FUN!

Unfortunately, I heard about it too late to participate that year. In the years to come I wanted to do it but never had the time or the money or the desire to raise funds all at the same time… then over the years I forgot about it.

Then I moved to Regina Saskatchewan. While searching for fun things to do in the city, and for ways to get involved in a good cause, I stumbled over a website for The Dropzone — the exact event that I had wanted to do in Winnipeg… and it was happening here in Regina too.

The Dropzone is an annual event hosted collaboratively between Easter Seals and the Saskatchewan Abilities Council. Both groups work to help people with disabilities live full and active lives. The Dropzone event happens every year across Canada since 2005 and has raised more than $15 million for this cause.

I signed up and committed to raise the funds to rappel. I was SO excited! Rappelling has been on my bucket list for many years.

Preparation

As a requirement of participating in this event, I had to take some training (makes sense!) and I went in late July. It was held at a safety training company; we learned about the equipment and then rappelled off of a simple 2-storey structure inside a warehouse.

I felt comfortable with the process and the equipment, although the harness was excruciatingly painful and left two very big bruises on my stomach. (I was worried that, if I felt that way during the 2-storey drop, what would it be like during a 22-storey drop! Fortunately, someone identified the problem — the shoulder straps were too loose — and it was fixed for the main drop).

Then, it was a waiting game during which I raised money, waited for the day to come, and took silly pictures like this one…

August 19, 2017

The day of the event finally arrived. I was so excited!

Here I am leaving the house. My game-face is already on!

Aaron Hoos

One disappointment from earlier in the week was that my rappel time was scheduled for between 7:45 and 8:15 in the morning. The whole event is supposed to be a fun and party-like atmosphere that happens in Regina’s bustling downtown core at the same time as a nearby farmers market. I thought the atmosphere would have been very fun but doubted that anyone would be there at 7:45! (Although the early drop time turned out to be a good thing… more on that in a moment).

When I arrived, it was SO quiet downtown. Here’s a picture of me failing to get the perfect selfie in front of the building.

Then I entered the lobby of the building, signed a waiver, and started getting suited up with the harness and helmet and gear. Yes, it’s not lost on me that the helmet would serve no useful purpose if the equipment failed. But safety first, I guess!

Then I took the LOOOOOONG elevator ride up to the 21st floor, signed another waiver (!?!) and then had to climb a ladder onto the roof.

The view was incredible. The building I was on is the tallest in Regina (I think!) so I could see all around. Here’s a selfie of the view. I am excited in this picture but also look silly because the helmet is squeezing my cheeks out to make them look really chubby! haha.

Then, it was time to wait my turn and I got super-focused. Here I am, all ready to go in my gear, with full focus. A couple people tried to talk to me and I probably came across as rude and cold but I was really just getting into the zone.

Finally it was my turn to rappel I approached the edge of the building and my safety rope was tied to the tripod.

Once my safety rope was tied, I had to climb up onto the ledge of the building and then lean out into my harness. The ground below was SO FAR DOWN.

It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

I can’t describe how challenging it was to grab hold of the tripod, stand on the edge of the roof, and stick my feet over the building to feel around blindly until I found the ledge… and then I had to lean backward into my harness and trust a rope to hold me.

Here’s a screenshot from the Global News report about the event. I actually look surprisingly calm here but I cannot describe how insanely scary it was to see all those tiny people below!

(You can view the full article and news report at this link, but if you’re looking for me specifically, I appear for one second at about 1:25 into the video. Blink and you’ll miss it.)

I leaned back, gave the photographer a thumb’s up (I’ll post that picture here when they send it to me) and started my descent.

And it was awesome! :)

As soon as I started, the initial fear vanished and was replaced by a rush of adrenaline as I got into the groove. The day was perfect, the view was amazing, and I was doing something that I’d always wanted to do.

Here’s a picture of me very early into my descent. There were two rappellers going at once and I was on the right…

I tried to pause on my descent from time to time to get a good view but that was harder than I thought. I even brought my phone along to get some pictures or do a Facebook Live video but there was no way I could do that because I was wearing gloves and my phone had been tethered to me but was not easy to get to, and I was too busy concentrating on everything.

The thing with rappelling is, it’s trickier than I would have guessed: Your arms and legs are doing 4 things independently of each other, all at the same time. Your right arm is under your butt trying to keep you from getting rope burn, your left hand is up by your chest working with a special lever that controls the speed of your descent, and with your legs you are periodically bouncing off the building and also adjusting for wind.

You’re doing this in windy conditions. In gloves. In the most uncomfortable harness you can imagine. While swallowing your fear. And somewhere in there you need to pause and drink in the experience!

I did stop a couple of times on my descent to enjoy the view but it was harder than expected so I just stuck with maintaining a good descent.

The wind was crazy, actually. It was fine until about halfway down, and then a big gust blew me off course and almost sent me spiralling out of control (which did happen to a couple other rappellers after me). Fortunately I was able to put out my one foot to catch myself against a window to keep from spinning. I believe that’s what the picture below shows: me with my right foot out as I tried to catch myself in a gust of wind.

(Side note: I mentioned earlier that I was disappointed that I had to go so early in the day. However, later that afternoon the wind picked up considerably and they had to postpone the rest of the event so it turned out to be a good thing that I went so early!)

And, as I neared the bottom, I could hear the cheers of a crowd that had gathered, and that was an amazing feeling. And by the time I got to the bottom and got untied, I felt like some kind of rockstar, as evidenced by this hilariously confident swagger…

And here I am after the event. The descent only took about 15 minutes but I was sweating and tired!

After The Event

I was surprised at how exhausted I was after the event. It’s a fast descent but also extremely active the whole time.

Immediately after the event I walked through the farmers market and then took a nearby walking tour of some historical buildings… and then went home and slept.

And then the next day I slept again.

And by the afternoon of the second day I felt stiff in my legs, arms, and back from a combination of the unusual activity and the tension of contorting against the wind in that harness.

But it was fun and I would do it again!

Summary

It was amazing!

A big theme in my life lately is breaking out of my comfort zone to discover new challenges and opportunities. Once you enjoy a bit of business success, it’s easy to get complacent in business and life, and to expect things to continue on in the same way. And this is one way that I push myself just a bit (even while doing something I’ve always wanted to do) to get momentarily uncomfortable and discover new experiences.

On August 19 2017 I raised $1065 for charity, crossed an item off my bucket list, and had a memorable experience that I would do again in a heartbeat!

Thank you to everyone who supported and encouraged me! It was something I’ll never forget.

 


Aaron Hoos, writerAaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He’s the author of several books, including The Sales Funnel Bible.

I’m Going To Leap From The Top Of This Very Tall Building…

Scarth Street is one of my favorite places in Regina (the city I live in).

It’s pedestrian-friendly, a great mix of old and new architecture, and there’s plenty of places to eat, drink, relax, and enjoy the surroundings.

And at the head of the pedestrian-only section of Scarth Street is the McCallum Hill Tower Centre, a 2-tower complex pictured below. (Check it out in Google Earth)

Well, on August 19 I am going to jump off the one on the right.

It’s 22-storeys down.

But not a free-fall, fortunately! ;)

I’ll be rappelling down the side of the building to raise money in support of Easter Seals, a really cool organization that helps Canadians with disabilities live active lives.

If you want to learn more or donate, check out the link below:

http://donate.saskability.com/goto/aaronhoos

I’m pretty excited about it!

 


Aaron Hoos, writerAaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He’s the author of several books, including The Sales Funnel Bible.

It Was A Privilege To Meet Brian Tracy And Mike Michalowicz

Earlier this month I was in New Jersey for a client’s event. My client, Mike Agugliaro, is the owner of two companies — Gold Medal Service and CEO Warrior. He hosts a regular training event a few times a year for business owners.

Mike is one of my biggest clients so I try to get out to his office at least once a year to attend an event or to brainstorm with him.

(Side note: I was a guest on his podcast to discuss the future of copy, in case you want to hear that.)

Earlier this month I was at his event — the Warrior Fast Track Academy — to hear Mike speak, make notes on some projects, and to consult with his team.

As an added bonus, Mike had two special guests, who also happen to be two authors and business experts whose work I admire. I got to hear them speak, had my picture taken with them, and because I’m on Mike’s team, I also got to meet with them outside of the event in a more informal setting.

Brian Tracy shared a lot of wisdom with my the event audience about productivity and business growth. It was really valuable and I took a lot away from his presentation. Here he is, below, after signing a copy of his book, Eat That Frog.
Aaron Hoos and Brian Tracy

Mike Michalowicz is someone I’ve been following for a long time because his work and style matches mine. He founded Toilet Paper Entrepreneur years ago and later moved away from that brand to focus on his personal brand. I followed him at TPE and then was interested in his move away from that brand, which is detailed in this NY Times blog post from 2012. During my client’s event, Mike Michalowicz shared his “Profit First” strategies, which is another concept of his that I’ve been following for a while. Here he is, below, after signing a copy of his book Profit First. (I’d actually met Mike during a conference call I had with him earlier this summer but this is the first time we met in person.)
Aaron Hoos and Mike Michalowicz

Go West, Life Is Peaceful There. Go West, Lots Of Open Air…

Hello again.

Remember me? It’s been exactly 6 months since I posted my last blog post (Thoughts About Life And Business On My 41st Birthday).

And here I am finally writing again.

Here’s the reason for my temporary break from blogging…

My wife and I decided to move… 400 miles west to Regina Saskatchewan, a city we both used to live in (in fact, that’s where we first met exactly 20 years ago).

Relocating may have seemed like a spur-of-the-moment decision to many people but it had been a topic of conversation for a while and circumstances came together to make it a perfect time for us to move.

In July we put the house up for sale, went through the listing process in July and August, sold our house at the end of August, had a moving company move our stuff in the middle of September, and then followed a week later. (That last week was hardest… I’m not cut out to sleep on an air mattress — haha).

(Pictured below) Here we are getting into our car and leaving our beloved Winnipeg house for the last time. We had 12 amazing years in this place. Twelve years ago we said we’d never move but things change, right? (Winnipeg was good to us and we loved it there but it’s time to move on.)
Aaron Hoos

(Pictured below) … And here we are about 4 hours or so into our 6 hour journey, crossing over the border from Manitoba into Saskatchewan.
Aaron Hoos

We pulled into Regina Saskatchewan, and into our new home, to start a new adventure! (I tried taking a picture of that too but we were pretty worn out and 6 hours of driving made us look like crazed serial killers so I deleted the pictures. So just imagine Charles Manson and that’s basically what we looked like.)

What’s next for us in this new chapter?

I’m still writing; in fact, I’m writing more than ever for some pretty amazing clients. (You can see what I do over at Real Estate Investing Copywriter.) I’m hoping to focus a bit more on writing my own books, too. I’m also using the opportunity to evaluate what’s essential in my life and what’s inconsequential — so I can do more of one and less of the other.

It’s an exciting time in our lives… can’t wait to see what this next chapter holds for us!

Thoughts About Life And Business On My 41st Birthday

Aaron Hoos

41. Wow.

My “forties” seemed so far away when I was a kid. Looking back from today’s perspective, life has raced by in a flash.

Don’t worry; this isn’t a blog post where I bemoan getting older or I get all introspective or whatever. I’m actually going to talk about something else: growth, evolution, and change.

MY PERSONAL DEFINITION

It starts when I was a kid: For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. Other kids wanted to be astronauts or firefighters, I wanted to write.

Every chance I’d get, I’d write. My family and teachers humored encouraged me with it, which I suspect is probably how most kids develop skills in anything. For example, whenever my family played Scrabble, we’d write down all the words played during the game and then I would go write a story with all of those words in it. And a high school teacher let me skip all of those little English writing assignments if I wrote a book by the end of the year (I did). There are many other examples, too.

As I got older, though, the reality of what I could do to earn a living as a writer started to come into question. Book authoring was (and still can be) a who-you-know industry; and journalism wasn’t for me (I tried it and felt like an ambulance chaser). Copywriting wasn’t even something I realized existed (which is probably my biggest regret — that I didn’t start studying copywriting until well after college).

I pursued a different career in college before realizing that I would die if I didn’t write for a living. So, right after college, I started my first business. (I won’t bore you with the details here… you can read about it in my blog post Aaron Hoos — More Than You Need To Know Plus 8 Random Facts About Me.)

Anyway, my point is, I only ever wanted to be a writer. I worked my ass off and I am proudly living my life-long dream today.

All has been good since I started writing full time. Sure, there were some lean years early on but I’ve built enough skill and reputation that things have been pretty good.

But things have taken an unexpected turn lately, in a way I couldn’t have predicted: business has been REALLY good. Almost too good. So good, actually, that it’s a problem.

THE PROBLEM OF GROWTH

For years, my business grew steadily and predictably. But in 2013, after I made some tweaks to my branding and services and my prices and my target market, BOOM — my business started growing exponentially. This year it hit a point where it was too big.

I should have seen the signs throughout 2015 but by December 2015 I had SO much work, regardless of my higher rates, that I was turning away many people. And it was starting to impact my clients, too. At the beginning of 2016, 3 of my biggest clients each came to me and offered to put me on 100% retainer — essentially “buying” 100% of my time. And when I turned them down, they all suggested I think about expanding my business by hiring junior writers because they had so much work to send me and I couldn’t keep up.

And here’s where the problem lies…

… there is a cluster of mental obstacles that prevented me from hiring other writers to do my work:

  • I’ve hired an occasional writer from time to time and was never truly happy with the results.
  • In a previous business I was a manager in charge of a team and I didn’t love it, and later I was an editor-in-chief of a magazine and didn’t love that experience either.
  • I’m a very fast writer with specialized knowledge of my industry, so in the time it would take me to assign a project and then edit it afterward, I could have written the content myself.
  • Perhaps the biggest challenge: I’ve always defined myself as a writer… the person who sits at a keyboard and creates copy… I was afraid I’d be giving that up to become an editor (and editing other peoples’ work is a task I don’t love doing).

These were hurdles. I could ignore them for a long time (years) because it never really impacted me or my clients.

But starting in December, and growing in intensity in the first quarter of this year, I’ve had to make a change; I was my own bottleneck and it was well beyond the crisis point. I may define myself as a writer but I have clients and they need to be served so I’m rethinking how I run and grow my business.

AM I STILL A WRITER?

I’m building a team. I’ll continue to do what I do (writing, consulting, etc.) but I’ll be rearranging my business to work on some of the higher level stuff (and the higher-end copy and consulting) while the smaller stuff gets handed off to a team member. In fact, as I write this, I’ve hired 2 writers and have a short list of 2 more that I will likely hire shortly.

It’s not going to be easy because I’ve spent nearly 41 years defining myself as a writer and right now it feels like I’m giving that part up. (Okay, I’m sure I’m not fully “giving that part up” but it kind of feels that way right now.)

On the other hand, ever since I made the mental shift to grow my business in this way, and I started reaching out to other writers to hire them, I am thrilled by new opportunities that have presented themselves to grow my business in ways I wasn’t thinking about before. I have a number of new ventures that have come to the forefront in the past couple of days because of this, plus I also see the possibility of maybe being able to take a well-earned vacation (sometimes I probably should do more of but always resisted in the past).

I’m a little scared because last year at this time it certainly wasn’t where I expected to be in a year. On the other hand, we have to keep changing and growing and this could very well be the next step in my evolution.

I don’t fear change; I love it. But I also want to find a way to remain aligned with my goals and vision for my life and I’m embarking on the next step of a venture in which the path is less clear and the risk of misalignment feels very high. But I’m taking the step anyway.

Related Post: 37 Lessons About Business On My 37th Birthday