chute jumpers in Red Bull events. When one of those jumpers went missing before a demo, Devore got the call to fill in. “That was the first real demo I did for Red Bull, and I met the right people and I was doing the right things...and all the cards fell into place,” he says.

When Red Bull decided to grow its aerial program, Devore was well placed to take a lead role – a posi- tion in which he has now served for nearly two decades.

Winning the Mental Game You’d think that even a job like leading the Red Bull Air Force could start to become rote after more than 21,000 leaps into the void, but it hasn’t for Devore. He is still awed by the freedom of flying, by that first moment of stepping off a cliff or out of an aircraft, by the beauty and art of human flight. He still gets incredible joy from filming flight against a breathtaking backdrop like the Drakensberg mountain range in South Africa or the Courmayeur in Italy – places people may have seen in a travel magazine but never from a bird’s-eye perspective. “That second you jump off the edge of a cliff, everything else in life turns off; and the coolest part for me is how everything slows down,” says Devore. “Whether it’s a small flower on the cliff edge, or you heard a funny little sound – or you name it – everything seems like a five-second window. But you go back and watch it on your GoPro video and it went by so fast you can’t even see it in a freeze frame; but, in your memory you could say exactly how many pet- als were on that flower that went by your face when you jumped off. “That’s the most magical part to me: just how everything slows down, the hyper-focus, and there’s really no time for any other thoughts – whether you have work problems, life prob- lems, or no problems. It all just turns off and all you can do is be very pres- ent at the moment. If you’re not, that’s probably where trouble finds you.” And trouble does find people in


this sport. In sales, a mistake might mean you lose a client. In wingsuit BASE jumping, a mistake could mean you lose your life. Devore has lost countless friends and acquaintances to the sport, and the awareness of that risk is something he struggles with constantly – even more so since he had children. With a wife and two kids at home, he finds he sometimes needs to tamp down thoughts of what “could” happen and rally the mental focus to take the leap. Part of what enables him to turn that potential fear into energy is preparation. Consider, for instance, what went into the Point Break wing- suit scene. Devore first got his team together at the skydive center in Los Angeles and – in a safe, open skydive environment – spent a week rehears- ing the situations they expected to face in the mountains. After 50 or 60 jumps in L.A., the team traveled to Switzerland a week ahead of produc- tion. There, without the pressure of cameras, they trained on-scene in Walenstadt – gradually bringing their formation in tighter and tighter. By the time the production crew arrived, the team was able to execute the flight with consistently expert preci- sion. It takes that kind of preparation, says Devore, to do any high-risk stunt professionally and safely. “I’m hyper-aware of the risks, and

that’s why I put so much time and effort into coordinating everything,”

he explains. “I’m never just ‘show up and go.’ My mantra is I cannot be afraid to say no – to hike back down off the mountain, ride the airplane back down, whatever it might be. It’s just a jump; it’s just a stunt sequence. Whatever it is, it’s a lot smaller than my life.” Devore says it’s important to have the courage – when a director asks him something like, ‘Can you go do that again but do it lower and closer?’ – to be able to say, “No. What you saw is what I’m going to do,” and not to back down from that conviction. Despite the risks, Devore wouldn’t trade his career for any other. Every time he lands after a jump, he experi- ences a rush of achievement – a thrill in looking up, realizing what he just did, and knowing it was huge. “I’m lucky enough to have found a way to turn my passion into my profession,” he acknowledges. “I’m super happy with what I do, and it’s afforded me a great life – and I really want to show my kids that, if you have something you are super passionate about, don’t let people deter you. Follow your pas- sion – because the people I see who do that are the happiest.” 

* Jon Devore was a featured workshop leader at the July 19-20, 2019, Peak Performance Mindset®

VIP Retreat at the

Four Seasons, Westlake Village, CA. He will also present at the September 19-20 VIP Retreat in Las Vegas.


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