Do You Dare? Take the Plunge!
August 12, 2011
She jumped off a cliff. She literally took the plunge.
During her recent trip to LA, my business partner conquered her fears, walked to the edge of a cliff, stepped off the perfectly solid ground and plunged into the water a perilous distance below. She recalls her experience:
My sister-in-law invited me to go with her, her children, and a few of their friends on a hike in Malibu State Park. It was about 100 degrees as we walked for 40 minutes to Nirvana: a cool crisp lake encircled by a stunning series of high rock formations. As I looked up to the sky, I noticed several very fit YOUNG people jumping from the various rock formations. Like Olympic diver Greg Louganis, they dove from the highest cliffs.
Being someone who is a participant in life, rather than an observer, I could no longer sit back and watch person after person overcoming their fears and taking the “leap of faith”. I was envious of the look of total freedom and exhilaration on their faces as they popped up above the water surface. But how could I, significantly older than these teenagers, jump off like that?
It took me a good 15 minutes to assess the situation and summon up the courage. Then, without a look back, I counted: One, two, three… I jumped. In that moment, terror turned into total abandonment, of exhilaration, of letting go. Once I felt the refreshing water embrace my body, I knew that fear is simply a four-letter word.
Take a look around you at the people who are successful. What do they have in common? They push boundaries. They try new things.
Many people work hard to acquire skills and arm themselves with the tools to succeed, but ultimately they fall short of their potential. Why? Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection.
Our comfort zone affects every aspect of our life. Both personally and professionally, it dictates how we socialize. It restricts how we adapt to new conditions. It narrows down how we make decisions. It prevents us from taking opportunities and exploring our potential. We continue within the limits of our comfort zone because it is safe; it is tried-and-true.
It is only by facing our fear and leaving our comfort zone that we can effect change and grow. In order to leave situations that leave us unfulfilled, in order to reach new heights of success, we need to take risks into the unknown. It takes guts, commitment, and faith in ourselves, but when we take steps in new directions and push towards new experiences, we may surprise ourselves by how much we can actually do. Seeing more of our potential can then embolden us to continue to try new things: “If I can do that, what else can I do?” In business, we may blaze new trails that provide new, creative solutions, make us stand out, and achieve greater client satisfaction.
So how do we step off the edge of the comfort zone “cliff” and take the leap of faith?
– It’s in the legendary Earl Nightingale’s magic word: Attitude. Take on an “I Must” attitude, not an “I Want To” attitude. Whatever your goals are, REALLY want them and expect them. Successful people expect to be successful and, therefore, usually are.
– If the changes seem terrifying and insurmountable, take a first step with a small change. This will empower you to move on to another change. It will create momentum and, before you know it, all the small changes will accumulate to a big change.
– Don’t do it alone. Seek support from family, friends, groups, books – whatever it takes.
– Be prepared for stumbles along the way. They very likely will happen, but don’t allow them to discourage you. Persevere. Don’t give up until you get to where you want to be.
In summary, give it attitude, Baby! Plunge forward, believe in yourself and go after what you really want. Don’t sit on the sideline. Don’t settle for anything less.
Do you have any other suggestions or “tricks” for leaving your comfort zone? We would love to hear them.