Friday, May 22, 2015

Four Reasons to Take a Leap of Faith

My granddaughter is on the track team of a small school that doesn’t have their own track. When she decided to jump in addition to running, she watched a You-Tube video and practiced in the yard. It took a real leap of faith for her to try her skill at a track meet. Last year, she advanced to Sectional in the triple jump, and she was determined to do the same this year. At Districts this year, she placed third in triple jump and long jump.

A storm lurked behind dark clouds on the day of Sectionals. Her goal at Sectionals was to place in the top four and advance to State. After the long jump, she was disappointed because her jumps were short of her personal best, and it didn’t look like she would advance. The skies opened up and a torrential rain sent us to the truck and her to the athletes’ tent.  After the downpour, she jumped the triple jump and, although she placed better than last year, she clearly wasn’t in the top four.

She wasn’t really open to hearing she’d done her best, or how proud of her we were, or “there’s always next year.” We left after her events and by the time we stopped in town for pizza, she was feeling better. Track season was over for the year. She’d had a great year, so her leap of faith to compete had paid off.

It got me to thinking about when a leap of faith is personally beneficial.

#1. When failure, or even humiliation, is possible. When I decided to start my Early Onset Alzheimer’s blog, doubts churned in my mind. Did I have anything of interest to say and would anyone read it? Would I have mistakes in it that people would criticize? Would I get hate mail? Negative images almost kept me from pushing the post button that first time. Once I made the decision to move forward, I never looked back. It is obvious that success is not possible without a chance of failure, and failure can be humiliating. It’s moving beyond the fear that lets us know the thrill of accomplishing our goals.

#2. To follow your dream. My dream was to write. Little did I know when I was clacking out fiction stories on a manual typewriter that the future would hold many ways of publishing my work. Eventually, the time came when the mechanics of writing became about a thousand percent easier and publishing as easy as pushing the “post” button. Not everyone wants to be a writer, but almost everyone has a dream they want to follow. What’s yours? Take a leap of faith and go for it!

#3. Leave a dead end situation. We’ve all been there. The job that went nowhere. The relationship that caused more harm than good, or was downright scary. It is really hard to leave the known for the unknown, but given the correct circumstances, it can be life changing. I once had a job working for a family business. It wasn’t all bad, at first. I liked what I was doing but as the married couple’s relationship went south, conditions became unbearable. I needed a job so I stayed even after I began to dread going to work each day. I was forced into leaving the dead end situation when they sold the business. Thankfully, the demise of the company forced me into the job market and launched a life-long career at a job I loved.

#4. Keep improbable from being impossible. I dropped out of college when I married Jim. Finally, when my children began school, I returned to our local junior college to earn a two-year degree. Still, I always regretted not getting my bachelor’s degree, and the older I got, the more improbable it became that it was going to happen. The opportunity to get a degree came at a really bad time. I was working full-time, Jim was in the nursing home, and I was already squeezing in time to volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association. Although the situation seemed impossible, I entered an eighteen-month cohort program offered by William Woods University. I graduated in 2005, easily the oldest student in our class. Was it worth it? You bet it was.

Taking a leap of faith doesn’t always pan out, but not taking it strips you of the sweet taste of success.

Oh, during that downpour at the track meet, we missed the announcement of the long jump winners. My granddaughter’s coach collected her medal and gave her the good news that evening that she had advanced to State. Will she win a medal at State? Maybe, maybe not, but without taking that leap of faith she would have never had the opportunity or experience.

Copyright © May 2015 by L.S. Fisher

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