When I was in high school, I went on a Junior Raft Trip with my class. We spent a week rafting, camping, swimming, exploring, bonding, and sitting around the campfire. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds. One afternoon after we set up camp, people started jumping off a cliff into a pool of water in the river. I don't remember how high it was, maybe 15 or 20 feet, but it looked scary to me. It was a big drop into shockingly cold water. I wanted to do it, but I didn't want to do it. I watched many of my classmates take the leap. And they were fine...better than fine, not only unharmed but energized and pumped full of adrenaline. They shared high fives and whoops of excitement. Still, my fear won out. I didn't jump. And I spent the evening wrapped in regret.
Fortunately, I had the chance again. Another cliff, another pool of water, more daring classmates, more fear. But this time, I didn't let it stop me. I climbed to the top, heart racing. I almost went back down. I stared at the water below and hoped I wouldn't faint. The cheers of my peers faded into the background, drowned out by the throbbing pulse in my ears.
I jumped. Time stood still as my arms waved, giving in to the unrealistic impulse to fly. I hit the water and it was indeed shockingly cold. After pulling myself to the surface, I emerged laughing and sputtering, shaking with excitement and cold and pride. I had no regrets around the campfire that night.
As I write this, I feel a similar mix of fear and excitement. Over a month ago, I booked a room at the local library to hold a free workshop to spread the word about life coaching and to give a live coaching demonstration. I want to do it, but I'm nervous. What if nobody shows up? What if everybody shows up? What if my presentation is met with blank stares?
The inner voice of fear will not win out, but it is hard to ignore. This voice is the cause of inaction and complacency. When do you hear it, and how do you react?
I honestly believe that cliff jump so many years ago was a turning point for me. The contrast between how I felt after inaction and how I felt after literally "taking the leap" has replayed itself many times in my life. The memory of that difference has pushed me out of my comfort zone again and again. And it encourages me to push my boundaries of comfort now.
Regardless of what happens tonight at my workshop, I am better off for taking action. I feel productive and proud. I'm proud that I booked the room and took the time to create a presentation. I'm proud that I posted it on social media and event calendars around my town. I am grateful for the friends and family members who have given me support and encouragement. I am validated by how much I care about this work I am doing. Whether I have one attendee or dozens, I have proven something to myself and I can go to sleep tonight without any regrets, but with many lessons learned.
Where are you stuck? In what areas has inaction become your default? When do you hear the inner voice of doubt and fear and how do you react to it? Contact me to work through these doubts and move toward action. Action is ALWAYS better than inaction when attempting to make positive changes in your life. And if you are local, come to my workshop at the Golden Library from 6:30-7:30pm. I hope to see you there!
July 2016: I had the chance to cliff jump again during a family vacation in B.C. Canada. No regrets!