Unsung Heroes

James Barnes

 My name Is James Barnes a 24-year-old indoor skydiving instructor from Milton Keynes. I have had a passion for the outdoors from a young age from going on residential trips with school and my college. I have also enjoyed doing rock climbing and other activities similar to this. I’ve always had a liking for the outdoors but never perused a career in it until 3 years ago when I made my first step. 

What was the path that lead you to today? 

I suppose my path properly started when I was in college; I was studying uniformed public services from which I was hoping to pursue a career with the fire service. I did this course for 2 years and loved every bit of it. As part of the course, we went on a 2-day hiking and camping expedition. From this, my path had started to take form, but I was still unsure on whether it was right for me. After leaving college I steered from this path for a short while and went into the food industry. I continued here for at least 2 years, eventually realizing this wasn’t what I wanted. After a huge push from my family, mainly my Dad, I enrolled into an intensive outdoor instructor training course in Cornwall for 4 months. I sorted everything out myself with no help from my family, showing how independent I could really be. 

I never thought in my life I would, or even could do, anything I did on that course. It made me a much better person; I improved my confidence to do things I couldn’t do before such as public speaking, taking weighted responsibilities and ensuring the safety of others. I hold so much more self-belief now. 

 I went into my first outdoor activity instructor job, as soon as I finished the course, with a company called JCA in Derbyshire for 4 months. Here, I put my newly gained skills to good use and it was amazing. Not long after finishing there, I found the job advertisement for The Bear Grylls Adventure, who were seeking a team of indoor skydiving instructors with no prior training required. I saw this as another opportunity to work on myself and my knowledge. I endured a months training which was, once again, a true test for myself and a chance to be better than I thought I could be. I was told I struggle due to my tall, thin and weak-ish physique so I would have to work hard but, it paid off greatly, and I am now a very strong and valued member of my team. 

Who inspired you to do what you do? 

My inspiration wasn’t an actual person, more of a what. It was more the job itself that inspired me to go for it as it wasn’t your average job that people would do, but I did I have people to motivate me to get moving. Now I’m here, I still have people like my friends and family that motivate me to continue onwards and aspire me to keep growing to be better. 

What have been the biggest obstacles you have encountered? 

I would have to say the biggest obstacle has been my skinny physique. I’ve been slim since I was a child and it has always made me feel body conscious. I thought I couldn’t do certain things in life because of it. 

Biggest triumphs? 

My one of my biggest triumphs has to be not yielding to my disbelieves, thinking I’d always never be able to do what I set my mind to.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you? 

Don’t wait around for things to just happen for you. If you want things in life then go get it. 

Why is getting outdoors so important in modern life? 

Getting outdoors is a great change to the everyday routine and you never know what you might discover. We spend too much time indoors, so making sure you get a good bit of fresh air in the outdoors is so beneficial. Even better in the great locations you can do things in. 

Amongst all the endeavors you have been involved with, which is the most unforgettable and why? 

I would say that my most unforgettable venture has to be my current role as an indoor sky diving instructor; this job has helped me really develop my confidence. During the training period of the job I was fear full that I would fail as I struggled more and was slower than everyone else. Yet, I passed, kept improving on my skills and now my confidence has greatly improved. When you have customers that you take on classes who say what a great time they’ve had and you are the one to help them do things they didn’t think they could do, it really fills you with a good sense of achievement.

Why is this particular project  so important to you?  

This project is important to me because it recognises those individuals that don’t seek the lime light or do what they do for recognition or approval from others. They do it simple because they want too. 

Who has been an unsung hero in your life?  

My unsung hero would have to my Dad. He is the one that gave me the big push I needed to finally do something with my life. Everything I have done over the past 4 years I have received the full support from both of my parents and have always expressed how proud they are. 

Do you have a motto you live by?  

When you haven’t tried something, do not say you cant do it and just give up. Get up and just go for it the only thing stopping you is yourself. 

 

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