Time to take the leap.
This tweet appeared in my feed and I shared it with a number of people and asked them, “Would you do it?”
Everyone said “no” and many respondents asked, “Why would you do it?” – to which I replied, “Why wouldn’t you?” and then received a barrage of comments including: “It’s too dangerous”, “What if someone pushed me off?”, “If the wind got up you could be blown away”, “What if the rock broke as I sat on it?” and “I’m not sure I could trust myself not to leap.”
It got me thinking about how our minds work when considering risk and I’ve come to a realisation that this is so important right now.
After hearing the responses from my friends and followers I then asked, Have you ever fallen off a bench? Have you ever been pushed off a bench? Has the wind ever blown you off a bench? Have you ever had a bench break as you sat on it? Have you ever felt compelled, when sitting on a bench, to throw yourself to the ground?
Again, they all answered, “no” (although two recalled being pushed off a bench at school).
Therefore, the only difference is the height of the stone “bench” to one set on the ground. This one factor changes everything and I totally get why. I recall as a teenager ascending Scafell and feeling scared by the drop along the ridge. I did a tandem skydive a few years ago and that cranked anxiety levels up a notch or two.
Similar emotions were experienced climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, skiing off piste in La Grave, during the London Triathlon and many other occasions when I’ve tested myself. Certain health and safety executives might argue that we should avoid these physical tests as they serve little purpose but I disagree. My belief is that by challenging ourselves in one dimension, we equip ourselves for others.
Leaving a very well paid and secure job to start my own business was scary. So too writing a book. Speaking to audiences of several thousand people was daunting at first, (although I now know a small group of a dozen is far more so!).
Getting married, becoming a parent, buying a home. These and many other key moments in life all have a fear factor because they occur outside the comfort zone.
Getting out of the comfort zone when you don’t need to is great training for when you do or should. And right now many of us need to take a leap of faith. We need to reimagine our businesses, our careers, our lifestyles. We need to see the incredible opportunities that will come as we enter the next normal in a few months time. Now is not the time for looking back, playing it safe, battening down the hatch. It’s time to make the leap.
Let me conclude with one of my favourite poems by Christopher Logue:
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came,
and he pushed,
And they flew.
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