2016 has ended, and we move towards a fresh new year. It always feels like a clean slate. A few nights ago, people all over the world were contemplating, considering, looking back, and looking forward. People were making resolutions with hope to see an amazing 2017!
Is that how “amazing” works?
Resolving to do something is not the same as doing something. That’s where most people (myself included) who collect failed resolutions mess it up. It’s this dream where I said I would do something, it felt good to say it and even plan for it, but now…eh…the doing isn’t really that important to me. I got all the good feelings by proclamation, and now doing seems harder than I wanted it to be.
I’m as guilty as anyone. (I think I’ve resolved to lose weight in each of the last five years, but only actually accomplished it in one of them. No worries, I’ll just resolve it again this year, right?)
So, what’s a resolute and optimistic person to do when he or she can’t see past the next bend in the road?
Steve Harvey talks about jumping in this video. It’s an inspiring watch if you’re considering any kind of significant change in your life. It could be career (asking for a raise, changing jobs, or confronting difficult situations), family (getting married, having kids, or moving out of state), health (lose the weight, run the 5K, eat more veggies), education (getting better grades, or going back to school as an older student), or any number of things. The fact is, you’ll likely find yourself standing at one of the cliffs of life one day, parachute on your back, and a decision; jump, or not? As your heart pounds in your throat, you know you’ve packed your parachute with skills, experience, knowledge, intention, resolution, and hard work, but something holds you back. You look out into the expanse of the sky in front of you, the nothingness below you, and you see people soaring. Still, it scares the hell out of you to make the jump yourself. Why?
Imagine standing on the edge, looking down…looking at the rocks…looking at how far the fall is…how difficult it is to lift one foot, lean out…and forward…and you embrace the unknown as your foot leaves the ledge? How much more difficult to spring with both legs, arms open, and feel the wind in your hair, pressing your skin? And, the speed…the speed is shockingly immediate. You’re moving fast in the first second, but somehow it gets faster and faster and faster as you drop. Falling and falling and falling and then…
I think Harvey is right. He explains it’s because, no matter how well or poorly we’ve prepared, we can’t know for sure when the parachute will open after we jump. Whatever it is you’re looking at doing, leading up to it, and even for a time after the jump, it’s going to be crazy uncomfortable, probably stressful, and maybe painful at times.
You’re falling and falling and falling… then a loud unfurling and pop of fabric, the parachute opens! A massive updraft sends you soaring! As immediately fast as the fall felt when you lept, the discomfort and fear fade as a distant memory. You’re flying!
Sounds nice, huh? I think it does. But as Harvey wraps up his talk, he shares one more nugget of wisdom. None of that will happen if you hang out around the cliff. None of that will happen if you take in the view and dream. None of that will happen if you don’t jump.
Are we really happy to stay in our little spot, far away from the cliff, occasionally lifting our eyes to see someone else soar by? Maybe there’s a cliff with your name on it. Listen, is that updraft calling? Are you ready to leap? (If not, should you be packing your parachute?)