It’s your moment of truth. You are standing on the edge of the high dive platform that ominously towers thirty-plus feet above the water below. It’s daunting. It’s overwhelming. It’s petrifying. And it’s your turn to jump.
Will you jump, or will you let your limiting thoughts and fears get the better of you?
This question was posed to several average Janes and Joes in this captivating video from the New York Times. I was mesmerized throughout the entire 16-minute video as I watched person after person struggle with their inner demons. You feel their nervousness. You smell their fear. You sense their mental gymnastics. You pray that they’ll have the courage to just jump already!
Yet so many do not. (It’s surprising to see who takes the plunge and who climbs back down the ladder.) Why didn’t they jump?
I’m sure each person has his or her own reasons. Some may not have wanted to look ridiculous or cowardly in front of their friends. Others may have been afraid of serious injury. A few may have even feared death.
Yet, life is all about risks -- at least a well-lived one is. Risk involves asking the tough questions, fearing what the answer may be (“Would you like to go out with me?”) Risk is putting yourself out there for criticism or ridicule (“In this presentation/video/report I will share…”) Risk is doing something completely new that has never been done before (“What if we try it this way instead?”)
But with great risk also comes great rewards. Something happens inside of us when we demonstrate the courage to take the plunge even when others around us are climbing down the ladder (both literally and figuratively). In my latest keynote, Cannonballs in the Pool: Charging Through Change with Guts and Gusto, I use the analogy of the well-known poolside activity to show people how to take those brave actions that will help move them through the discomfort and fear of change. When we demonstrate commitment, confidence and courage to jump off the scary edges of our lives, we are setting ourselves up for greater success, more abundance, and ultimately more joy than we could ever have just standing on the sidelines watching.
What will you do the next time you are faced with a ten-meter challenge? Will you experience the exhilaration of sailing through the air, knowing you are a hardcore Jedi, or will you settle for that sinking feeling of climbing back down the stairs to the safe-but-stuck ground below?
What is the high-dive challenge you are faced with right now? Will you jump?