Back in the day I used to work for an alcohol company, and we were in Ireland one time. I say that so nonchalantly *flips long brunette locks*, but trust me when I admit that I tend to always try to gauge things against what my twelve-year-old self would think about things and adult me smiles secretly from the inside scoop on how cool this experience really was and how lucky I am to have been given this opportunity in the first place. My twelve-year-old self would have freaked out, likely doubted the legitimacy of the promise of said trip to Ireland and skeptically thought the plane ticket was a fake.
We got to do a lot of cool things; some involved alcohol consumption and others did not. We were in fact there to learn, explore, celebrate and tour around after hitting a sales target as an organization. Gooooo team!
We could choose our own adventure so to speak, from a list of options and I went on the adventure obstacle course day instead of the SPA. At least I think the spa was one of the options, but look at me all proud of myself that I went adventuring over relaxing! It sounded like an adventure. It was in the title. If this was not to be adventurous, then it was in fact false advertising.
There was a mountain bike obstacle course, a climbing wall, and archery (which I was terrible at. Legit the arrows DID NOT fly for me. Couldn’t be asked to join Robin Hood’s gang of thieves because they’d laugh at my accuracy and that would be rather embarrassing now that I come to think of it.) I promise there is a point.
My final activity was one I wanted to avoid all day. I saw it when we came in and I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but I sure did know it was something that I’d rather avoid eye contact with, as opposed to letting it gaze into my eyes and down into the depths of my soul. It could see the fear and I felt naked about it. If you’ve ever seen a hydro pole, you know how big it is both in height and diameter visually. If you haven’t seen a hydro pole it’s a 35-foot pole that you can climb up and when you’re standing on the top of it you can maybe turn around comfortably at a turtle’s pace.
The Leap of Faith, I don’t remember if this was the official name or if I heard someone just call it that, but holy sh*t. I remember looking all brave walking over to the pole and looking up. I remember word vomit spewing out of my mouth telling everyone I may crap my pants. I walked up to the metal pegs that they called the steps/ladder, and I got to the platform. I put my two hands down and got onto the platform on my knees. My two little pistons of power (my legs) were shaking and I wasn’t sure how I’d get from my knees up to standing.
Why the hell was I doing all of this?
Well to learn to take a leap of faith that day to learn that my team wouldn’t let me fall.
I was to stand on the platform and jump toward a stilled flying trapeze that was purposefully too far away from most people (Read: ‘most people’, but also for reference I’m 5”5’ & 3/4s with the lovely gift of shorter than average arms, which I’ve kindly nicknamed my ‘t-rex arm’, sometimes I even yell rawr when I can’t reach something. It’s super cool.) to reach on their own. The idea was really that down below, this terrifying 35-foot drop, there were three or four of your co-workers who were going to pull a rope that was attached to your harness when the count hit zero and you were going to complete the task together. You would jump and trust. They would be able to count and also pull the rope on cue. (<– this part is important when picking your team.)
Panic set in.
May have peed a little. (Maybe figuratively… but I’ll never confirm nor deny..)
I got to standing by some sort of miracle, but I could feel the platform sway as I felt my knees shake. The trapeze handle was so far away. My team asked if I was ready and I said no. They started counting down anyways. I remember wanting to jump when they got to the ‘go’ part, but I hesitated for a second. That split-second based on a lack of trust – I missed the trapeze by a tiny smidge. Could have been a big smidge, but in my memory it was tiny, maybe a fraction of an inch, but likely a foot in real life. This is my story, shhh. I almost made it. I was sad. I didn’t make the heroic jump to save the day and join Cirque de Soleil to grace their performances. I never talked about this day with anyone really. I buried the sadness. I buried the shame and hurt that I couldn’t just trust as easily as a lot of other people. I beat myself up a bit on the inside (I have a mean jab, jab, cross, hook, uppercut, pow!) and then I moved on.
Maybe I didn’t get it back then, but I get it now.
This is a constant reappearing theme in my life, and I’m trying to break this pattern. I always doubt my gut and hesitate. I lack trust. I’m scared of failing. I’m so scared of looking stupid. I’m scared of looking like a fool.
I knew the team had my back even back then and I paused and thought I couldn’t. I said the c-word in my head and I couldn’t take it back — the dreaded ‘can’t.’ I missed the jump because I didn’t believe that I could. I didn’t believe it was enough. I didn’t think I had enough in me to do it, even with a team down below legit cheering for me.
It’s okay though. I took a leap of faith once, and I hesitated. I fell and I didn’t make the jump, that time. Fail forward, friends. I jumped this time. Trust. You’ve got this.
Some people will call you crazy. Some people will look at you and wish they could be as ‘strong’ as you, which you certainly do not feel all the time. These reminders are nice on days when you struggle to remember yourself but you have to find the strength from within. Some people will say mean things to your face because they don’t get it or behind your back about your decisions that they think that you won’t hear. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. That’s also okay too. You’ve made judgments about other people before too. Not everyone has to understand your journey, nor do they owe it to you to automatically cheer while or when you do take YOUR ‘leap of faith’. This is about you.
I read something the other day that I wish I remembered the source of because I can’t claim it as my own initial thought – it went something along the lines of no matter what decisions you make people will be judging, positive or negative. Ultimately to me, this just reinforces the fact that every decision you make is really only your own concern. People will judge regardless. You do you. Don’t give the life you really want a hard maybe. Give it a hard yes. You owe it to yourself to at least try.
I have a few ideas of what my next steps are. Things are happening. There are also many things in the works. For once in my life I’m feeling things out, taking my time, trusting the universe and not explaining my every move to everyone looking for some sort of validation. I’m done with that.
Today I TRUST my gut. I hope you learn to trust yours too.