Take the Leap
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
About five years ago, I had the bright idea to hike to a swimming hole.
I got a group of friends together to go to a place called “Aztec Falls” – a beautiful spot hidden along the Pacific Crest Trail in the San Bernardino Mountains.
The only way to find this gem is to go looking for it – fellow hikers have left markings on rocks along the way to lead you to it.
Once you find it, you will discover you weren’t the only one looking for it. It can be busy and filled with people lounging on rocks, sun-bathing and cliff jumping. There are lines of risk-takers getting ready to take the death-defying jump off different levels of cliffs.
Our group had a single aim: jump from some of those rocks into the water. I am not a daredevil by any means, but I wanted to take the leap. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone.
I chose to take a 20-foot leap expecting to feel incredibly brave and elated after hitting the water. Instead, I emerged with fear surging through my veins and water up my nose.
It was not how I imagined it.
I felt like there had to be a way to enjoy this. I wanted to conquer my fear. So, I kept jumping until I figured out how. Turns out, the third time was the charm.
I had to know “why” I was doing it. I had to connect the purpose beyond the jump itself. And for me, it was my desire to be brave.
There is something vulnerable about being courageous.
Courage itself requires exposure – to put ourselves on the line physically and emotionally. To take risks with no guaranteed outcome.
Vulnerability inherently requires you to let go of control and acknowledge that what happens next is out of our hands. All you can do is show up. All you can do is jump.
The question is, how do you define success when you know you can’t control the outcome? It can’t be applause or acceptance or even getting the thing you most desire.
Success has to be embedded in the act itself – in taking the leap, in showing up when your fear tells you not to.
True success, in many ways, has to be internal. It is defined by our own growth and not the acceptance of others.
To win is to fulfill our desire to be brave and not allow our fear to have the final say.
Brené Brown says that vulnerability is the birthplace of belonging. We can’t feel a true sense of being known and seen unless we show up as we are.
That’s horrible news.
That means that in order to connect with one another, we have to practice courage on the daily. We have to jump off emotional cliffs every day in different ways and at different times.
It can feel daunting and exhausting – especially if success is defined in the acceptance and applause of the crowd sitting on the rocks.
We can’t define success that way.
Success is choosing to get on the trail and following the arrows. It’s finding a group of like-minded people who will join you for that adventure. It is leaping when every ounce of you is scared from head-to-toe and doing it again and again until you are able to find your joy on the way down.
True triumph is in the journey itself and not the outcome.
People are going to disagree with you. Some may even dislike you. But you will never find the ones who love you if you don’t show up as you are.