Mellody Hobson rocked it.
|Getting ready to jump.|
Felix went up and up and up -- 24 miles up -- making the highest manned balloon flight.
Then the people guiding him from down below told Felix to disconnect the oxygen lines.
There, so high up, you can see the curvature of the earth, Mellody reminded us.
She told us the world was beautiful in this moment: peaceful and connected.
This is almost exactly how the graduates are on graduation day.
She reminded the graduates that in this moment, things are frozen and beautiful.
Things make sense.
You feel a part of a greater whole.
But, you need to disconnect the oxygen lines in order to make the jump.
When Felix is told this, he is quiet and still.
They repeat the request and still, he thinks about it.
He doesn't want to disconnect quite yet.
We all get it.
It takes guts to make the leap.
Somehow, we all take one last deep breath and find a way to disconnect the oxygen lines...
Mellody tells us that for Felix, the first seven seconds are everything they should be:
But in second eight, Felix goes into a violently aggressive spin.
In short: he's out of control.
It's frightening, confusing, upsetting and to be expected.
She tells the audience that 100% of the graduates can plan on having moments just like this.
Felix actually breaks through the sound barrier during this spin.
Felix, like all of us, had within himself the tools to open the parachute --
even in the middle of a deadly spin.
When you watch the YouTube video, the crazy spin is barely a mention.
It is edited and highlighted to show the moments of heroism,
not the moments of
"Oh no! WTF!"
But I'm here to advocate for those WTF moments.
That's where the most learning takes place.
That is the moment where you face your adversity head on and try like hell to open the parachute.
When Felix lands, all is forgotten.
He's a hero...breaking two world-records.
But more importantly, Felix knows he's faced his moment and won.
Last night, Jack brought a pretty small backpack, his passport and his plane reservation to
San Francisco International Airport, ready to board a plane to Hanoi, Vietnam.
Starting your travel in Vietnam of all places seems like you're asking for
the death spin right off the bat.
Casually, I ask Jack about this...
"Yeah, I thought that too but, I'm ready to cut the oxygen lines."
Seems Mellody's words have settled into Jack's heart too.
As we were standing at the check-in counter, Jack was asked to show his passport and visa.
He has no visa.
He didn't even know he needed one.
** Sometimes you don't even know what questions to ask.**
This was one of those times.
We sat down discouraged and lost before we'd even begun.
How can we get a visa at 11 o'clock at night?
Do we really have to go to the Vietnamese consulate and wait three days?
Isn't that so 1980's?
Turns out that you can get a visa online and that someone in Vietnam will Live Chat with you and guide you on your way...
they might even help you open your parachute if you let them.
Meandering outside of the international airport, we found a Wallgreens who for some reason was agreeable about taking passport photos near midnight -- more requirements for the must-have visa.
We sprint through the airport.
We run a crazy obstacle course...
and around 12:30 am, China Airlines agrees that Jack does indeed have the needed visa in his email, prints it off for him, issues his boarding pass and tells him to have a very nice flight. :)
He made it past security and onto the plane with time to spare.
He found his way out of the spin.
Around 18 hours later, Jack arrived in Hanoi.
He made it!
Tomorrow, he hopes to connect with friends...and begin the adventure.
Breaking through his own barriers.
Opening his own parachute...and helping others find ways to open theirs.
Noticing the curvature of the earth.
Asking new questions that he didn't even know to ask.
He's on his way.
Tonight, I'm grateful for adventure, oxygen, taking the jump and the chance to open our parachutes.
Stay safe, Jack.
We love you.