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Who Packs Your Parachute?

Do you know the story of Captain Charlie Plumb?

A U.S. Naval Academy grad, Charlie was a jet pilot in Vietnam and completed 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam. On his next mission, just days before the end of his tour, his plane was shot down over Hanoi. He parachuted into enemy hands and spent the next 2,103 days as a Prisoner of War.

Some years later by chance, Charlie met the man who had packed his parachute. At first speechless at the meeting, Charlie became full of gratitude and explained that he had said many prayers of thanks and didn’t expect to ever be able to express his gratitude in person. Charlie asked the parachute packer if he kept track of all the parachutes he packed. The man responded, “No, it’s enough gratification for me to just know I served.”

Today Charlie travels around the country lecturing and asking, “Who packs your parachute?”

After I read this story, I started thinking about parachute packing and who packs mine. And, if I think about it, I have a variety of parachutes – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual.

Who are the people who really make my life, both personally and professionally, work? Who are the people who support me when it doesn’t?

Once I started making a list, it just continued to grow. Of course, my family is on the list — my sisters, my husband, my aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins — who are always there for me. And, I have some close friends I can always count on. Those people were easy to add.

Who packs your parachute?

As I continued to think about this idea, I thought about Sandy, my hairdresser who keeps me looking good and Flor, my lovely cleaning lady. And, depending on the season, I have people who work in my yard who allow me to do the work I cherish.

My yoga instructors and trainers pack my physical parachute. Add my fitness coach to that list.

I have wonderful neighbors, and my walking and book club friends are on the list. They help pack my mental and emotional parachute.

My clients, the people who come to CABS, and my mastermind group are my parachute packers. My team at ICAP are all parachute packers. I can think of many mentors throughout school years and into my corporate jobs. The list really is endless.

I would not be where I am today without the parachute packers.

So, if you are one of the people packing my parachute (and if you reading this, likely you are), thank you.

It’s your turn!

So, my question to you is, “Who packs your parachute?” Spend some time this week reflecting on who they and thank them.



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