I went skydiving about 5 years ago. The experience was not too different from starting a company.
Firstly, the anticipation runs through your system. In advance of skydiving you prepare yourself mentally and physically in the plane, strapping on the harnesses, and wondering how it was going to feel to jump. Similarly the excitement and groundwork at the thought of starting a company is exciting and intimidating all at the same time.
Next is leaving the plane. Whether you close your eyes and jump, or quit your corporate job and start your company the next day, the only way to do it is to GO. When a skydiver leaves the plane, the force on him is his own weight, and soon thereafter other forces completely out of the skydiver's control.
And then it is a blur. Your stomach churns, and you realize you can't focus on anything. The drag force of the air resistance increases as you go faster and faster.
After the initial moments of free fall, your velocity is now constant and you feel you are in a wind tunnel. As the impact and the pressure keeps building, you anticipate the pull of your parachute. Make sure you have one! In a startup, sometimes there is nothing to stop the free fall to the finish.
And finally, the parachute opens and you can finally see the horizon. You are on a giant swing and able to revel in your experiences as you gently land.
Have you ever been skydiving? How does it match your startup experience? Let us know in the comments below?