My family and I recently had an adventure day and we headed to a tree top obstacle course and zip-lining park. We had done this before, so we knew what was in store for us…. for the most part. Turns out, there was one obstacle waiting for us that we hadn’t experienced before: Leap Of Faith. You zip-line to a platform 35’ in the air, clip yourself on to a cable which will slowly lower you to the ground. All you have to do is step off.
My husband went first. He was on the ground before I got the platform. My thirteen year old daughter went next. I was on the platform with her, but I was unhooking myself and didn’t see her go. When it was my turn, I hooked myself in, checked the connections and…… I froze. I just stood there and my heart started racing. Looking down at my family below, I could not move. They were offering me words of encouragement, but I tried about 10 ten times to step off, and every time I did, a fear overwhelmed me and my mind would not let my body do it.
The adrenaline was insane. I started shaking and crying and then I heard a calm voice. It would be really perfect if I could tell you that it was my own voice, calming me down, but no. One of the guides on another platform saw me standing there, terrified. He asked me if I was okay. Through my tears I said, “No, I’m not. I need help. I can’t do it.” Another guide walked over, asked me if I was okay and I replied with the same answer. She said, in a perfect comedic delivery, “What kind of help, exactly? Would you like me to climb up and push you off?” Of course I burst out laughing, and after a few more jokes, and with her guidance, I did it. I stepped off the platform. I took the leap of faith.
You may be thinking, okay, great story, but what’s the point?
The point is, the words “I can’t do it” DO NOT come out of my mouth. So, what the hell happened?? My husband and daughter were on the ground, right below me. They were telling me… “Just do it.” “You’ll be fine.” “Stop thinking about it.” When I was stuck, I had the two most important people in my life standing below me. I could see them. They were trying to support me, encourage me, and motivate me. But, it didn’t help me to move. And, all I could think was that I was disappointing them. Not until a total stranger, completely unattached to the situation came by and offered me her perspective of what was happening, did my brain process that it really would be okay and all I had to do was step off to get down.
The irony of it all did not hit me until the next day. I was dumbfounded as I realized just how much my experience mirrors that of my clients. When people are trying to make a decision, especially one perceived as risky, you may hear the words of those closest to, trying to help you, but we always allow how our decision will affect them get in our way. The longer I stood there, my fear turned into sadness as I felt I was letting them down.
My family meant well, of course, but I was ready to just climb down a ladder and give up to get the whole ordeal done. If my husband could’ve, he would’ve found a ladder for me to help me down. He would have made it easy for me and taken care of me, and I would’ve climbed down and continued on. Ah, but there was the guide. She was not about to make it easy for me, or let me off the hook. She could see the situation and knew that I had it all within me to get myself down. She challenged me with new perspectives and humor and watched me, with a smile on her face, as I did it.
Making changes and life decisions can be terrifying, but more importantly, they can be exhilarating and both are necessary from time to time to keep our lives moving forward. Having a coach does not make it easy for you to take those leaps, but a coach will make sure you always feel supported, will always remind you that you can do it and will always keep what you know is best for you as the focus.
Sometimes, you just have to take that leap of faith.