From the Desk of Ellen Fisher - February 2010


I'd like to thank Bonnie for filling you in on my 'getting to the airport' saga. I am embarrassed to admit this, but everything she wrote was true! The rest of the trip, including my son's arrival on time and in one piece, ran smoothly. As a matter of fact, my son was so excited to be 'of age' as soon as the Air New Zealand plane took off, that he spent most of his voyage conducting his own personal beer tasting class.

I have been searching for other words to describe New Zealand, but the best one I have been able to find is magical. Some of the high points of the trip were hiking a glacier (where I fell and forced the guides to forge a new trail for the rest of the group); going to Hot Water Beach (where you dig a hole in the sand above a hot spring and create your very own spa); and, for my husband, son and daughter, bungy jumping. (I had no desire to do this, nor watch my family do this, so I went to a winery instead.)

The #1 thing my family was looking forward to, on this trip of so many superlatives, was skydiving. When we left the states I was pretty certain that I would not be leaping out of a plane unless there was an emergency and all other forms of egress were unavailable. But as the trip progressed, I found myself contemplating what it might feel like. On the day of the scheduled jump I was sitting on the proverbial fence. When we were told we couldn't jump due to the weather, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, even though I had never actually consented to taking the plunge. Our second attempt was also scrubbed due to weather. While my kids and husband grumbled, all I could do was smile.

Our third try, on the second to last day of our vacation, also resulted in bad weather. At this point I was pretty sure that the higher authorities were not only on my side, but that they were trying to tell me something. So certain was I that none of us would jump on this vacation, I said (out loud) that I was probably going to do it. The skies on the last day of the trip looked like the previous day's - bad for jumping. I was beyond grateful! But when we called the skydiving company, they said that they were, indeed, flying.

On the way to the site, I was very quiet and pensive. When we stopped for directions, I came back to the car and overheard my daughter on the phone with one of her friends from New Zealand saying, "My mom says she's going to do it, but none of us believe her." I felt like she dared me. That was all it took for me to decide I would definitely jump.

That was, until I saw the plane. It looked like something Fred Flintstone would have flown. But then I started thinking about all the people in my life, both young and old, who have limitations that keep them from doing so many of life's basic tasks. The least I could do was take one 13,000 foot leap from a plane! Besides, I had read in the local paper that a 90-year old had just jumped (and survived). And so, when my husband said, "Are you going to do it?" a yes came out of my mouth.

What can I say? It was awesome! No, it was beyond awesome! It was one of the mot exhilarating experiences of my life! And it was a wonderful way to end such a fantastic trip.

There's most definitely a business lesson embedded in this jump. We sometimes need that extra push to move outside our professional comfort zone. I hope my story motivates you to set a new goal and take steps (no need to jump!) towards doing something you really want to achieve. Whether you choose to accept a public speaking invitation when you are afraid to even stand up in a large crowd, or apply for a grant that seems like a far stretch for your current business, I encourage you to take the first step today!

Ellen Fisher, who still can't believe she actually jumped

Our aim is to increase the visibility, authenticity, influence and status of women’s businesses for the purpose of promoting economic growth and support of women.
  • Women's Yellow Pages of Greater Philadelphia
  • 610-446-4747
  • PO Box 1002 Havertown, PA 19083