LEARNING TO FALL: life, business & the great unknown

Yesterday was my birthday. This is an exciting time for me personally and professionally. My business will turn 3 next month. Projects I’ve quietly been working at for ages are finally becoming real in the world, and although there is still a very long road ahead, today’s message comes as a note from this vista point.

This is what I wish you — the feeling of being here: being weary from play. The pleasure of witnessing the thrumming aliveness of joy coursing through your body at day’s end.

Knowing, believing, relaxing into the truth that you’re doing all you can do, and that it’s enough for now. Tomorrow — perhaps — you’ll have the opportunity to do more.

I wish you deep gratitude. Revelry. Amazement, and awe.

I wish you an undaunted spirit of adventure… so you may have the desire to dutifully stay the course ahead of you, come what may, because there will be times when you’ll want to quit. There will be times when you’ll forget why it’s so important that you keep going.

There will be times when others will try to dissuade you from your dreams — if only to save you from suffering.

The truth is, passionate lives are often painful. You have to understand what you’re signing up for. The very definition of passion is linked to suffering. It’s necessary. Greatness requires you to undertake the often painful process of being broken open and rearranged. So be it.

The part nobody says, is that a lack of passion isn’t benign. You can avoid your greatness in an attempt to avoid suffering, but it’ll be in vain. You’ll suffer from discontentment if you quit, and you’ll suffer even worse from the unknown if you never muster up the courage to begin.

The very best we can do is to find something we can willingly devote ourselves to even when it hurts. Something bigger than our individual talents and lives.

Something noble.

The most beautiful part is — it’s not too late to start, or to start again.

Yet, starting again after a big fall takes a tremendous amount of courage because you know how much it hurts, and you wonder… is it even worth it? It’s a thought you may keep to yourself.

As entrepreneurs, we’re supposed to be stalwart and resilient.

We’re always told not to be afraid of failure. We’re told to fail fast and fail often. We’re told to expect it.

What we’re hardly ever told is how to fall.

This is a lesson I learned in high school.

There was a girl who tried out for the volleyball team who was really good — an all-star. She killed it on the court in try-outs, and nobody was surprised to see her make the team.

But when the first week of practices started, she wasn’t there. The rest of the team was rehearsing basics, while she was on vacation with her family. No one thought much of it since she was such a great player, we all assumed she’d be fine.

Then, a few games into the season, that girl took an epic dive for the ball… and shattered her hip.

She had to sit out for the rest of the season because she’d missed out on learning how to fall during practice.

You’ve got to stay in the ready position. Brace yourself. Weight on your toes, ready to move forward.

One bad fall can keep you out of the game for a long time. Some people never come back after a fall like that.

It takes time to recover, and it takes courage.

But once you’ve healed, you’re equipped with intimate knowledge that no amount of success or education could ever have provided you with.

No matter how ordinary you may seem to you; you are extraordinary.

Within you is a wonderful gift; the culmination of your unique stories, experiences and skills & if you do not choose to share yourself with the world, there will never be another you to share your gifts, your lessons, or your insights in a way that only you can.

Be generous! (& Practice your falls before you dive.)

Maya Hampton is a joy expert. Find more of her writing at sayyes2joy.com, where she shares science-based ideas for creating a joyful life + career. To get weekly inspiration, join her free newsletter.