Recently a friend introduced me to The Meaning Movement. It’s an inspiring blog written by a really cool guy named Dan and it’s for people searching for meaningful work while approaching change and transition with less fear, doubt and anxiety. Of course when Dan offered to write a guest post, I was thrilled because one of my core goals is to help people find their harmony despite the inevitable stresses and change of life.
Because I have a large readership of people who are in the midst of change both personally and professionally, I asked him to write something about taking the leap even when you’re scared. For those of you who have seen me in action on stage, read my first memoir, The Best Worst Thing or read my LinkedIn bio, you have heard about my turning point – my literal leap off a boat into scary waters that prompted me to take some pretty big leaps in my life. Dan’s post below is a great reminder that big and small leaps happen every day – and it’s up to you to decide when, how and why they happen. THANKS Dan and The Meaning Movement for your wonderful contribution.
Be sure to go visit Dan’s blog. He is giving Happy Hour Effect readers (YOU) a free book, The Meaning Manifesto: 6 Foundational Truths for Work Worth Doing. It’s an motivating read for anyone seeking more meaning in your work. Click here to get it now.
Take a Flying Leap
By Dan Cumberland, The Meaning Movement
We all reach points in our careers and lives where we have to step out from the safety of what we’ve known into something new. Your next big risk and transition could be leaving your job to pursue your dream or simply moving to a new city. Regardless of the specifics, all transitions require us to step out toward a new future. They’re about finding new possibilities and grabbing hold of them – letting go of what is known so that something else can come to be. They’re about taking a risk.
I learned one of my most important lessons about risk on a swingset in Mexico.
I sat in stunned silence – my six year old hands loosening their grip on the chains as I cease the pumping motion required to keep momentum. I had just witnessed a miracle. The boy next to me had jumped off his swing as it neared the pinnacle of it’s forward thrust. He floated through the air for what seemed like a full minute, traveled for what seemed like a mile, and landed in the most spectacular cloud of dust — and lived to tell about it! I didn’t know who he was. We didn’t even speak the same language, but his performance changed my world.
I’ve always loved swings. As a kid, I could spend hours on them. I was on a swing-set in a small town in Baja, Mexico, when I saw this boy jump off his swing. I had never seen it done before. From that moment on, I was corrupted. The swings were a tool to propel my body through the air. They were a way for me to launch, leap, and fly.
After a few attempts – trying and trying to convince myself that I could do it – I learned the trick to jumping off of swings: the hardest part is always letting go.
It’s one thing to have the intention of taking a risk – it’s one thing to have big dreams of sailing through the air – but it’s quite another to let go of what feels so familiar and safe.
The real art of leaping is in the departure. Once you’ve left the swing, you don’t have to worry about landing. You’ll land. Sometimes gracefully, sometimes in a storm of sand. Once you let go, you will go somewhere.
As you think about your next leap, risk, and opportunity, the invitation here is not only to look forward at what may come but to look back at what you’re leaving behind. There are no new beginnings without endings. The hardest part of stepping out is letting go, and letting go requires you to say goodbye to what was before. The most painful transitions are the ones when you’re not ready to let go. If you’re not ready, then you won’t be free to embrace what’s next. You can’t fly with your hands still on the swing’s chains. The roughest jumps off the swing are always the ones when you don’t let go well.
Here are 2 key steps that will make a leap easier.
- Acknowledge Your Fear – As you prepare to move into a transition, spend time with the fear that you’re feeling. Think about what it’s connected to and how it informs your approach to the transition ahead. Your fear can keep you from moving forward wholeheartedly, but by putting words to it and to the stories that inform it you diminish it’s power. The more aware you are of your fear, the more aware you will be of how it may affect you as you take the next step.
- Honor the Past – Before you make your departure, mark what you’re leaving. Make peace with where you have been. Show your respect to your past and your present. It’s made you who you are.
Then, when you’re ready, step, leap and let go – courageously, and whole-heartedly – into a new future.
Click here to get Dan’s FREE eBook: The Meaning Manifesto: Six Foundational Truths for Work Worth Doing
Dan Cumberland is on a mission to shake you awake to what really matters, to help you find where meaning, life and work intersect, and to inspire you to push into those places. He has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Entrepreneur Magazine, MSN, Careerbuilder, The Work Buzz, and Relevant Magazine.com. Dan lives in Seattle with his wife and dog. Tweet him funny jokes @dancumberland
Dan is offering Happy Hour Effect readers a free copy of his ebook, The Meaning Manifesto: Six Foundational Truths for Work Worth Doing on his blog.Visit the MeaningMovement.com/HappyHourEffect to get your copy.