Head in the Clouds:

Adam Nelson
Jul 7 · 4 min read

Entrepreneurial Air Guitar, Conquering Creative Castles in the Sky and the Parachute of Perspective

Risk is the ongoing obstacle in every entrepreneur’s existential existence and owning your own agency is akin to the uncertain curtain of skydiving.

Business, my friends, is for the birds.

As I approached the magnificent mile marker of my 50th birthday, I made the diabolical decision to throw myself out of a perfectly good airplane in order to rattle these bashful bones.

I jumped not just for joy, but to reclaim the jangling Jupiter of high adventure necessary to steer the ship. To jolt the electricity of art and commerce alive again within.

Trust is what it took to open Workhouse 20 years ago. To foray into the forbidden, establish a culture and enlist a tight team of dynamic dreamers.

I didn’t aim to defy the odds or stick a safe landing.

Rather, I leapt into the air knowing there would be no net. Nothing to save us if we failed to build our firm of fortune. One that has come to craft compassionate creative and keep our head in the clouds every single day.

Amelia Earhart famously opined “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”

Similarly, entrepreneurship is a literal leap of faith. An air adventure into the great unknown. One that forces you to forever face greatness and gamble in equal measure.

In the body of business, we all long to be absent of anxiety, less afraid and relieved of regret.

In light of this truth, it has always been a source of personal inspiration that two brothers divined the first aircraft through deep determination — just to feel the tantalizing tranquility of being airborne.

The act of aerial adrenaline addresses this but also assures that you will never look at the sky the same way again.

Within the brutal youth of business, every bit of might, magic and miracle lies just outside of the communal comfort zone.

Through the advent of this anxious undertaking, defying death left an indelible imprint on my soul and changed the molecular structure of my mind. Like Fred Astaire, advancing personal bounty and the brave bliss of business was found dancing on air.

Here’s a few truthful takeaways from my time above the tarmac:

Let the Wind Take You You cannot change the direction of the breeze but you can adjust your sails. It’s an apt metaphor: Resistance interrupts flight. Remember those warm summer days driving with your windows down, hand gently soaring through the air? The moment you put some muscle into it, headwinds work against you. The same holds true for the physics of terminal velocity. The shape you make in the air often determines the speed and sail of your dive. So it’s not too smart to fight against a free fall at 120mph. This theory not only applies to plummeting but to the confines of client creative, quality customer service and the battle in the boardroom. More often than not, resistance is futile. But pivots can be potent. When wrestling with opposition, try letting the wonders of the wind take you into the terrific.

The Fantasia of Falling Zen is often described as the ultimate reality. A vibrant interconnectivity of the nature of life. In skydiving, the barrier to boundless Buddhism immediately begins to break once the rusty bolts are removed from the airplane doors. The rush of atmosphere and howl of heat breaches breath and flowers fear. In my experience, the axiom of ultimate faith is akin to self-confidence. By shifting your sky-jacked senses from the worst case scenario — the mental construction of a possible accident ahead into the euphoria of your feet touching the earth — empowers a mighty manifestation of the immediate. This is the nautical nirvana of enterprise. Through skydiving, one can appreciate the enchantment of being unencumbered alongside the implausible accomplishment of flying high.

Teamwork is Trajectory If you want to avoid air sickness, whiplash and land safely, listen to your instructor. It’s in this simple stipulation that motivation creates retention. Often those who have mastered mighty milestones provide the definitive difference between flight and failure. From the military to the Mouseketeers, safe execution of an efficient mission is based on teamwork, the importance of preparation and the firmness of commitment. If you want to land in the drop zone, take management from a mentor.

Fear is Your Next Trophy Conquering the incredible is the mark of an adventurous entrepreneur. It is also a commonality shared with adrenaline junkies who forever ask “What’s next?” In business, those among us who won’t jump, never fly. This clout of confidence is routinely characterized as the ability to self-succeed. It requires a bird’s eye view of landscapes built within the wealth of risk and reward. If you do make a quantum leap, hurtling yourself at great speed towards the earth while playing air guitar, it can kill the fears that do not serve you. In return, you become a Sargent of the sky. It has been said that a lust for life makes a living. Putting yourself in charge sets a course for a new future, fear becomes your next trophy and only the brave courageously carry on.

Magically, the sky is no longer the limit. The ground is.

FREE FALLING | WORKHOUSE, CEO ADAM NELSON