The first time I jumped off a high dive…
It was a hot summer day in the 70s, I was stretched out on a towel at our local pool, eating ice-cream, and watching my friends jump off the diving board. They seemed to have a lot of fun and I admired their boldness.
Then, one of them asked me to give it a try. “WHAT? ME? No way, I am afraid of heights!” A mixture of sheer panic and excitement took hold of me. “Should I do it? Would it hurt? I guess I could try?”
Reluctantly, I walked over to the ladder and started to climb. The metal bar was wobbly and my hands felt wet and slippery. I had a hard time breathing. My legs were about to give in and my stomach felt queasy. I didn’t dare to look down. My mouth was dry. Somehow, I managed to make it to the top. I was shaking. This did not feel safe! The ground was too far away. There was nothing to hold on to.
After catching my breath and finding my balance, I carefully stepped up to the ledge and peeked down. It was so high! I looked back at the rickety latter and I felt trapped.
I stood there, breathing hard. The diving board was slippery. I kept looking down, trying to find the courage in me to jump. Images flashed through my mind. What if I landed on my belly? Or on my back? Water would most certainly get up my nose. Had anybody ever died jumping off a high dive?
“Come on, it’ll be fun. Just jump. You’ll be fine.” My friends kept cheering me on. At some point, I just did it. I will never forget the sensation in my stomach and the rush I felt zipping through the air. It took my breath away. Within seconds, I hit the water and all was fine. It didn’t hurt and I did not drown. Instead, I felt excited, electrified. “Again,” I thought. “I want to do it again.”
There are times in life when you have to take the chance and jump.
Sometimes the decision is not yours and you are forced to take the leap. You lose your job, your relationship comes to an end, or your kids leave the house.
What about the times when there is no outside force pushing you over the edge? How do you know when it’s time to take the leap?
It’s a lot like standing on a high dive. The choice is yours. You can take off and jump, fully trusting that you’ll be fine. Or, you can take your time, weighing in the pros and cons and gathering your courage. Your third option is to turn around and climb back down the ladder.
Whatever you decide to do, there is no one right way, on the high dive or in life. Each decision has its value in time.
I have taken many risks, big and small, and this is what I know: it usually works out all right. Life gets better, things perk up, the path emerges. Waiting, I have learned, is often more painful.
What’s your experience with stepping into the unknown? Have you ever taken a risk? How did it play out? Please share with us in the comments below.
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Karen your story arrived this morning and at a very appropriate time for me. I have taken a leap of faith in my own abilities as well as trust in the education I have invested in. Taking this risk has solicited the skepticism of very close respected friends, making the decision , now made, difficult in the sense that I began to doubt myself.
BUT here is the thing, they would still be lying on the grass with their ice cream cones , while I now in the water having taken the jump. AND I know how great I am going to feel having challenged myself.
Two years ago I made a decision to invest a lot of money in real estate investment seminars, immersing myself into something I had always stayed away from: a kind of cultish brain washing type of situation where they lead you from one money commitment to the next. Ya I know !!! what was I thinking! But for some reason it all seemed to be right at the time. And once I was involved I realized an amazing thing. It was exactly what I needed at the time I needed it.
Unlike many of the students I did not jump head long into flipping houses and getting loan money. I sat back and waited til I felt the time was financially right for me and I could trust the path I was going to take.
A month ago the time was right , I found thru the connections I had, because of the seminars, the right people to invest with and made that leap of faith in myself and them. WHEW!!!! I am still nervous, but anticipating great things and have a sense of happiness having made a positive move forward.
I understand my friends are protective and love me. However , the comments that came to me were hurtful, it seems they don’t have faith in my decision making nor do they respect me.
Having walked over to the board with knowledge and preparedness , I climbed the ladder and JUMPED! So far I have to say woo hoo !!!! Danah
Good for you, Danah!
Sounds like you took your time to make a sound and well grounded decision. I’ve had similar experiences with close friends criticizing the risks I have taken in my life. It was scary for them at the time to see me take the leap. Some of them got used to my boldness, others left. I have found that having well-meaning & encouraging support is crucial in times of change.
So good to hear that you are well and thriving! All the best of luck with your endeavors.
Love & light,
Karin, this was a great article. The choices are very appropriate to our level of trust and risk taking. Sitting on the towel and playing it safe prevents us from experiencing all that life could offer. Fear is really the name of the game here. Whether that fear is learned “cautiousness” from our parents or learned from failure, it has many names, but its still fear. If we (I) don’t look that fear in the face, it will always be the threatening bully on the way to keep up from learning.
The second option of contemplating moving forward or climbing back down is the worst one of all, in my opinion. We have to deal with our own sense of shame, guilt and failure and all the emotions of condemnation that come along with them. Most of the time other people don’t nearly condemn us as much as we condemn ourselves.
The third option to jump despite our fear is the best! It demonstrates our courage and willingness to try something new, even though its not been done before. One time when I went hiking with friends and my kids we came upon a 2-3 story waterfall that you had to rock climb to get to. My boys didn’t want to go. I was admiring the others before me and wasn’t going to let anything stop me. As I climbed I focused on getting to the top. Without hesitation I slipped off the edge, arrowed down into the water and felt the cold water envelop me in exhiliaration. Wow! Challenge accepted, experienced and given a sense of confidence and assurance.
Now I just need to know I can do that same plunge in other areas of my life too. Fear, who are you to bully me around?
Wonderful, Tatiana! Let’s figure out what your next jump might be. It’s better with a team cheering you on 🙂