I think it's not the instance of injury or trauma that brings the most pain. It's the healing.

 

After owning two businesses for two decades, I finally got a real job... dream job actually! Combining my passions of technology, education, and skydiving, I was hired in January 2017 by the United States Parachute Association as Director of IT. Sadly, I am no longer taking on new web programming projects, but I'm still skydiving and teaching certification courses through Xcelskydiving and of course writing! Also, I am still available for public speaking events... just email me. This blog site serves to display my numerous previously published works as well as satisfy my continued urge for sharing my insights... you know, those thoughts you have at 4 o'clock in the morning.

Afraid of Heights

I don’t know how many times I get this response when someone finds out I’m a skydiver.  “Oh, I would love to jump, but I’m afraid of heights!”

I heard this so many times that I developed a rehearsed retort: I used to say, “So am I.”  So I tried to mix it up and reply, “I’m not afraid of heights, but I am afraid of widths!”  That attempt at humor went right past most people.

But it occurred to me once after hearing this quip for the umpteenth time in so many days, when people say they are afraid of heights, they are implying that the height itself could hurt them.  Why wouldn’t someone say instead, what they really mean, “Oh, I would love to jump, but I’m afraid of hitting the ground at a high rate of speed and either being injured badly or dying.” 

  • 1 April 2009
  • Author: Jen Sharp
  • Number of views: 357
  • Comments: 0
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Risk Management vs. Risk Assessment

A skydiving student of mine remarked to me recently, “My non-skydiving friends just don’t understand why I skydive.  They don’t take chances with their lives.”  I replied, “That’s not true.  Do they ever drive on a two lane highway? When another car comes from the other direction, there’s a closing speed of 120 mph, same as our closing speed to the ground when we are in freefall, yet at a distance of only a few feet.  The difference is, I can see this huge planet Earth coming at me 10,000 feet away, but I can avoid hitting it at deadly speed simply by pulling a little handle.  On the highway, you never know what that guy in the other lane will do at the last second. He could be messing with his cell phone or under the influence… or eating his sandwich or texting grandma.”

What are the risks we accept unaware, without thinking? 

  • 19 March 2017
  • Author: Jen Sharp
  • Number of views: 312
  • Comments: 0
The only thing that stays the same is that things change...

After being DZO of Skydive Kansas for 21 years, I accepted a full time position at USPA as Director of IT. I'm still traveling to teach courses as an eXaminer with Xcelskydiving. But I have never believed in spreading thin or watering down. After much contemplation, I made the bittersweet decision to close my dropzone. In an email to regular jumpers, I explain by starting with:

The only thing that stays the same is that things change.

  • 11 March 2017
  • Author: Jen Sharp
  • Number of views: 421
  • Comments: 0
Programming Projects

Here's a collection of some of my best projects I developed throughout my work as JenSharp.com, web programmer. They included e-commerce, e-learning, data management systems, and high functioning websites.

  • 3 March 2017
  • Author: Jen Sharp
  • Number of views: 342
  • Comments: 0
The Kansas Lifeline Magazine

Here are some articles I've written for Kansas Rural Water Association over the years.

  • 3 March 2017
  • Author: Jen Sharp
  • Number of views: 329
  • Comments: 0
The Dunning-Kruger Effect

In the third century BC, Aristotle penned the timeless words, “The more I know, the more I know I don’t know.” Since then, countless people in numerous time periods have restated this realization using various wording. Aristotle’s statement and the others like it are the hallmark of those who are recovering casualties of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, a phenomenon explored in a series of experiments by David Dunning and Justin Kruger at the Cornell University Department of Psychology in 1999. These experiments—reportedly inspired by a bank robber who knew that lemon juice could be used as invisible ink and covered his face in it thinking it would render him invisible—set out to test a human psychological trait many before have witnessed: People with below average skill or knowledge tend to grossly overestimate their own abilities.

  • 1 July 2015
  • Author: Jen Sharp
  • Number of views: 394
  • Comments: 0
Using Cue Words for Efficient Practice

In a coach certification course, a particularly verbose candidate felt compelled to spill his brains at every turn during a mock ground-prep session. A real student would have been overloaded with all the explanations and details and then simply tuned him out. How could I get this candidate to see how ineffective his words were? I made him a bet. I stopped the guided practice, stepped in as coach and asked the talkative candidate to count the number of words I said as I performed the mock ground prep. I guaranteed I would say fewer than 50 words. Naturally, he agreed to such a sure bet.

  • 1 November 2014
  • Author: Jen Sharp
  • Number of views: 307
  • Comments: 0
Rules, Reasoning, Liability & Ethics

So why have rules at all, if they don’t always do the job they’re intended for? Because there is a limit, even if rules can only approximate it. And although there is no way to regulate good judgment, jumpers still need to use their reasoning skills. By studying what elements cause risk, those risks can be reduced. By ethically adhering without exception to the established set of rules and applying good safety practices based on your experience and reasoning, you can reduce the risk for your students and your liability as an instructional rating holder.

  • 1 October 2014
  • Author: Jen Sharp
  • Number of views: 294
  • Comments: 0
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