Take the leap
You’re standing at the edge of a cliff.
The rocks beneath your feet, the land behind you are the firm and familiar ground of everything you’ve known, everything with which you’re comfortable.
The air into which you’re contemplating leaping is the hope of a better future, the dream of freedom, the yearning for greatness.
You feel your fledgling wings, but with no guarantees, you can only hope that you will fly.
Your cliff might be:
- Deciding whether to get married to a person you love, while harboring deeply-rooted fears that it won’t work out.
- Considering launching your first business.
- Pondering a career change after fifteen years in the same company.
- Feeling the urge to reach out and heal a relationship with someone you haven’t spoken to in years for good reason.
- Thinking about investing in real estate, though you haven’t a clue how to do it.
- Trying to talk yourself into picking up the phone to share an opportunity or make a sale.
- Wanting to go back to college as an adult.
- Feeling prompted to become a public speaker.
- Flirting with running for political office.
In short, your cliff is anything that will fling you out of your comfort zone, where the risk of failure is real and serious — but the opportunity for growth is guaranteed, the possibilities exhilarating.
Ask yourself: What’s the worst that could happen?
Financial struggle — poverty, even? Temporary financial struggles eventually pay priceless dividends in knowledge, experience, and confidence.
Bankruptcy? The short-lived embarrassment is trivial compared to the inescapable shame you’ll feel on your deathbed if you don’t take the leap.
Emotional pain? Your capacity to feel joy is in direct proportion to your willingness to experience pain.
Social embarrassment? The people pointing their fingers, whispering behind your back, only do so to hide their own shame for not having the courage to step off the edge themselves.
The armchair critics, the “sensible” ones lounging in middle-class mediocrity, the fearful and faint-hearted can only dream of flying, and their mockery is nothing but evidence of jealousy.
Imagine yourself on your deathbed, having never taken the leap. You think you’ll still be worried about the risks? Or will you only regret the lost opportunities?
Life is far too fleeting, your potential far too great to turn away from your cliff. It is your destiny to fly — but there’s only one way to learn how…
Listen, as one who has made a career of taking the leap, I can promise you that yes, you are going to fall screaming from the sky. You will smash into the rocks below. It’s inevitable.
Now get over it and take the leap.
Because I can also promise you that you’ll pick yourself up, the wounds will heal, and you will be profoundly grateful and proud of yourself for stepping off the edge. There will come a time when you’ll realize that it was the only way your wings could fully develop.
As you stand at the edge, fear gripping your gut, take the advice from Marc Militello:
“Talk to yourself, but don’t listen to yourself.”
Stifle the voice of your “lizard brain.” Drill-sergeant your fears into submission. Coach yourself off the cliff.
Ponder the poignant question posed by Chris Brady:
“Would the child you were be proud of the adult you are?”
You know the answer to that — that it depends on your willingness to take the leap.
Remind yourself what Jonathan Livingstone Seagull learned from his repeated failures and eventual success:
“The gull sees farthest who flies highest.”
Failures from bold trying can be forgiven, but you’ll never forgive yourself for the cowardice of not trying.
You’re standing at the edge of a cliff. Your life — comfortable mediocrity or daring greatness — hangs in the balance…