If you’ve ever gone sky diving, you probably know that the scariest part is jumping out of the plane. Here you are making this conscious choice that goes against everything your moma taught you. And once you jump, you’re free. You’re flying. And it’s one of the best sensations ever.
A few years ago I was having a conversation with someone about something that I was scared to do. His advice to me was that sometimes you just have to close your eyes, count to three and jump. It’s some of the best advice I’ve ever received.
Shortly after hearing this, I was visiting my best friend in Boston. I was terrified of water at that point (I almost drowned when I was younger), and we went to go swimming in a local pond. There was a dock that people were jumping off of, and I decided to test the theory. So, I literally counted to 3 and jumped. It was so liberating! So freeing! And I didn’t die! (Yes, it’s called catastrophizing, and a lot more people than you realize are doing it.)
While I’m being literal, I’ve also applied this advice in my workouts. I did a box jump for the first time last month and I was so nervous. I thought that I would hit the box, stumble, fall, break something, and embarrass and hurt myself in the process. I didn’t think I could do it. But, I counted to three and jumped. And I did it! Today I even reached my personal best and box jumped 20 inches! Holy sh*t.
The great thing about 123 jump is that it can apply to anything. Last year I left a job that no longer suited me. I loved the students I was working with and my team, but I knew it was time to move on. I didn’t want to tell my boss, I didn’t want to disappoint her, or have to answer hard questions about why I was leaving. Not having the conversation was weighing down on me and occupying a ton of mental space. And then one day I just decided to do it. 123 jump. I found my supervisor, asked to speak with her, and it was done. I felt so much relief.
Gathering up the courage to have hard conversations or step out of our comfort zones isn’t easy by any means. But sometimes, remembering a silly expression gives me that added push to just do it. And the great news is that it’s like riding a bike. The more you step out of your comfort zone and build that courage muscle, the easier it becomes. I just wish I had received this advice before I jumped out of the plane!
What helps give you courage when you’re facing a challenge?