As a pilot who loves to fly, the surprising paradox in my life is that I am not a fan of heights. In particular, I don’t fancy open heights. So, a couple of years ago when I decided to go skydiving for my birthday I had to draw from the experience gained during my youth to give me the process to accomplish my goal. Experience taught me it is easy to formulate these grand ideas in your head; and, it is even easy to make the plans for such grand ideas. However, executing these ideas can be as frightening as jumping out of a plane: or as I experienced in my youth, jumping from the 10m platform at the swimming pool.
When I looked up from the pool to the platform, it didn’t look so high. It didn’t look so formidable especially when people of equal and lesser size were going off the edge of the platform headfirst. I suspect this is how many people envision their dreams and goals. It seems like something that is within your reach, and most importantly, others are living their dreams so why not you. So, I grabbed the opportunity by summing the nerve and starting the climb up the ladder to the platform. Mind you, there were two other platforms even higher; so, this should be well within my reach and not an attempt of lunacy. However, when I got to the edge of the platform something took over. The distance seemed so much greater now that I was on the platform; and this something, this harrowing feeling had seized me. Paralyzed with fear I had to return to the pool deck in humiliation.
I learned that if I was going to enjoy the thrill of fulfillment that my peers were experiencing, then I was going to have to find a way to overcome the paralysis that returned every time I attempted the jump. Simply put, I would have to find a way to deal with the fear that we all face when things become much bigger than we first assumed or imagined. So what did I do? I learned to override the fear by eliminating the time between the plan and the jump. I would climb the ladder; cross the platform and jump without hesitation or thought. Because if I stopped to think, rational thoughts of fear would hold me back: not because it couldn’t be done, but because fear would have me scared to do it.
When I decided to skydive, I started two weeks before the date rehearsing that I would not think; I would just jump. This process worked in my youth, it worked for skydiving, it has worked for my dreams and my goals. Therefore, it will work for you. The truth is the thinking is already done once you have dreamed and planned. When it is time to execute, don’t think; take the LEAP of faith:
- Listen to the voice of your heart – It will LEAD you.
- Embrace the fear – It will EMPOWER you.
- Appreciate the opportunity – It will APPOINT you.
- Persevere in the challenge – It will PERFECT you.
In the heroic wisdom of Les Brown, “leap and grow your wings on the way down!”
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Michael McFadden is a leadership and performance expert; founder of The Leadership Training Company; and author of the book How to Maximize Your Potential. Visit http://www.theleadershiptrainingcompany.com and sign-up for the FREE Business Leadership Coaching 5 Day e-course titled, “How to Achieve the Results You Have Always Dreamed.”