feat. model: @mainmodelnp
Definition: “Cut-away is a skydiving term referring to disconnecting the main parachute from the harness-container in case of a malfunction in preparation for opening the reserve parachute.”
I only have 3 jumps logged but this term “cut-away” is something you learn on day one. Your main parachute, the very device meant to keep you from plunging to your death, at times, can become compromised. In very rare cases it can deploy incorrectly, deploy with line-twists, deploy with collapsed cells (multiple cells are what inflate with air when your chute is deployed) or not deploy at all. In any of these cases, the very device meant to save you can become your cause of death.. and quickly. For this reason it is extremely vital that you know when to pull your “cut-way” handle. That handle will separate you from the corrupted chute and allow you to get far away from it to safely deploy your uncorrupted reserve canopy.
I love word pictures and this is one of my favorites. There are people in your life, right now (probably) that were meant to be there for you. They said they’d support you and your vision/ your brand. They claimed to be friends, partners, teammates. In reality they are malfunctioning and creating unnecessary risk in your journey.
They are poison to you and your brand-reputation.
It is vital to your success that you figure out who these people and it’s imperative that you “cut them away” with clear and concise action as if to save your very own life. In many ways, removing toxic people from your “circle” will be saving your life. This is the much needed damage-control that can get your course corrected and get you back on track to your goals.
Before I move on I should mention the "well-meaning" people. Be wary of the "free" services. If the service is free but the quality was bad or not in support of your brand direction then it was NOT free. It costed you precious time under a bad chute and you're further off course. This is to the person that says "my auntie can make my website for free, but she's never done it before." or "my friend who has a camera can take my headshots". Free doesn't mean free. There is always a price paid or goods exchanged. Make sure you're clear and trading your precious currency for the right outcome. And don't forget, your TIME is your most valuable currency. Don't waste it... cut-away.
The best way to deal with “bad parachutes” is with prevention. A correctly packed/ prepped chute will open correctly every time. There’s a reason they only let the most experienced and licensed skydivers pack them.
The same amount of preparation and attention to detail should be applied when developing a strong and effective team around you.
Protecting Your Brand
Your brand is your reputation to the world. Your brand is your sound (or message), your image and your impact. It’s everything. It’s what you market and it’s what directs the entire trajectory of your career. If our “brand” is this important why do so many of us trust it with unworthy people? Why do so many artists settle for the wrong band members? Why do so many models align themselves with the wrong photographers or agencies? Why do so many creatives end up with bad content and bad marketing? Why do so many talented people get stuck or stagnant because of a negative/ disapproving parent or friend? We hold on to these people like the old stinky shoes they are because they’re just too gosh darn comfortable but they belong in the trash. Cut-away! It does’t mean you don’t love them… but they are NOT on your team.
Protect Your Baby
Your brand is your baby. It’s needs to be raised and developed into something great. Babies are also fragile and you wouldn’t just leave your baby with anyone. Protect your baby.
Learn “Cut-away” words (just made that up).
If a photographer says “What are you comfortable with?” Before a shoot.. CUT-AWAY! This is a very common question asked to models prior to a shoot. Who’s interests does he/she have in mind with this question? Who could this possibly benefit? Is your brand being developed and respected on this shoot? No way. This photog is literally asking what they can “get away” with on a shoot with you or how much skin can they get you to reveal. One model I work with was actually told by a photographer on a shoot “you showed way more skin last time.” WHAT???? If you don’t have the “cut-away” buzzer going off in your head right now you have some work to do. (The only exception to this is when you’re hoping a photog build their brand and they need certain looks and need to know if you fit the bill). “Study playboy to get more sexy faces”, “send me more pics”, “Can I buy you a new belly ring”, “you could be photographed with my car”, “where do you live” are just a few more examples of real things models get asked. Cut-away. And there aren't enough hours in a day for me to write out all the gross "cut-away" things photographers have said to models while physically at the shoot. We all make mistakes. If you find yourself mid-air with a bad chute... cut it loose quickly and get on with your life.
Learn what to look for and what not to look for. Talk to other models or artists. Learn from their experiences, listen to their stories. We are all in this thing together and can help each other greatly.
Now I know what you’re thinking. This is depressing right? “Jason, just say no to everyone and everything?” Absolutely not. Be open to opportunity. Prepare daily for new opportunity. Skydiving, when trained and prepared for properly is one of the safest sports you can participate in. But the prep is key. I’m not just going to jump out of a plane with anyone because I’m in a rush to do so. I want the best jump master (trainer) around. We should treat our brands and careers the same way. We all want to succeed and we want to do it quickly. And I’m the first person to tell you to take abnormal amounts of massive, unstoppable action. But don’t jump with a bad chute. Be sure your team has your back. The good news is that there are many people out there who you can trust your brand with. There are people who will listen and understand first, before jumping.
There are people who are driven by service, not by their own selfish or prevented motivations.
You’ve heard me talk about it a thousand times. The importance of team.
Team with out the right team is just a dysfunctional gathering of people serving different visions and purposes.
Did I just describe your family? Gotta love family! But that doesn’t mean they’re on your “team”. I’ve had some incredible teams and some not-so-incredible teams. I’ve learned to put a very high priority on working with the very best of the best. I work hard to find people that will complement me and be able to support the areas where I am weakest. Most importantly I look for people who have integrity… people who do the right thing no matter what. “Parachutes” that will open every time. People who will save my brand, time and time again even from myself. But building such a team has taken me a long time. I’m still building it. And it has come with many many “cut-away” moments.
Looking back, I Know that if I hadn’t removed those people I would’ve have been able to reach the next level, the next goal or the next growth step.
Be a Good Parachute
The best way you’re going to attract great people to work with is to first be the very best “parachute” you can be for someone else. Learn how to serve and support some else’s vision and brand. Learn how to “be there” and to say the hard things when they need to be said. Learn how to conflict and communicate effectively to serve the larger goal. Be ethical, reliable and unstoppable.
There is no greater cause than to lift someone up.
Does this make any sense? Did it help? Has it caused frustration or inner conflict? I sure hope so. I hope this rant provokes you and inspires you. I hope it gives you the courage to make the hard choices. You might need to cut some people away. It also might be picking up the phone and thanking the person who you never want to lose. Know when to appreciate people and know when to let go.
“You gotta know when to hold em and when to fold em”
Maybe you need help in this area. Please reach out to me or any of our team members. We are committed to building a strong, unstoppable team every day. We hold ourselves to the highest standards possible. We can listen or advise… or both.
Stand tall! I’m standing with you!
- Jason, Owner