Action steps are good. They are necessary for success. If you don’t ever put an idea into action, you can never see it come to fruition. Sometimes, though, we get stuck. We get scared of the first step. The resistance attacks and our vision obscures. It’s like looking at the high dive at the YMCA. When you’re on the ground, it looks like no big deal. So, when a friend double-dog-dares you to go off the high dive, you say something brave like, “That little thing? No problem.” And you head for the ladder. As you are standing in line to get on the ladder, your friends are picking sides, taking bets on whether you’ll do it or chicken out. You start to get a little nervous, but you quickly muster your bravado and take the first step up the ladder.
With each step the ground gets farther away and butterflies start to flutter in your stomach. By the time you reach the top step, your friends are lined up at the side of the deep end, cheering or jeering based on whether they bet for you or against you. You make a quick mental note to reconsider who your real friends are and if you should waste your time with the ones betting against you, but you are staring down at the water now. You are next in line.
It’s funny how distance can play tricks on you. When you’re on the ground, 20 feet looks like 20 feet. On the edge of the diving board, it can look like a hundred-foot drop off a cliff with sharp rocks waiting on the bottom. The sun glistens off the ripples of the water and you start to feel dizzy. The moment of truth arrives. Will you take this first action step? The problem is that it feels like an action leap!
My heart is racing and my knees are weak as I walk to the edge,
I know there is no turning back once my feet have left the ledge,..
This is where you (and your friends) find out what you’re made of. Do you turn around and risk the humiliation of excusing yourself back down the ladder? Or, do you leap? This might be the one time when peer pressure can work for you as a type of accountability. The fear of death is overwhelmed by the fear of humiliation.
And in the rush I hear a voice that’s telling me it’s time
to take the leap of faith, So here I go!..
(lyrics from “Dive” by Steven Curtis Chapman)
You feel like you could sing the National Anthem on the way down. But then, you hit the water and start to swim. You feel alive like you’ve never felt before.