It’s All about the Jump

About 8 years ago I took a trip to Virginia to visit my best friend. This is the kind of friend that you’ve known for as long as you can remember. The one that has seen you do the dumbest things imaginable and will never EVER let you forget about them. Paul is that guy and I love him to death.

While I was there we hit up the James River to go tubing. We drove to the river, jumped in our tubes, got into the freezing cold water and floated down the river. We dodged rocks, hit a few more and flipped a tube or two. We laughed like idiots and had an all around good time.

Then, the moment of truth. We came around a bend and in the distance was a rock. Not the kind that is just under the surface that nearly broke my tailbone a few hundred yards back. Just the opposite. A rock jutting 25 feet out of the water. A rock that had brave (read: dumb) young men and women climbing up the side of it for one reason. To test their bravery by jumping into the water below. Climb the rock, jump off, swim to safety.

I knew only two things about that rock and my relationship with it. (1) Paul was going to jump. No doubt. This guy isn’t afraid of anything. And (2) I was scared out of my mind to jump – not that I would never admit it.

Off we went. With our tubes parked on the river bank, we started the 50 yard swim to the base of the rock where Paul proceeded to drop his wedding ring onto the bottom of the river before beginning his ascent (I’ll save that story for another time). We watched a few of the others make the leap and discussed the best place to land. We asked a few questions about how deep the water was and received satisfactory answer. It was time.

Paul was first up.

He climbed the rock, stepped onto the flat portion of the rock that acted as the makeshift diving platform and, without wasting a second, jumped into the water below. He quickly bobbed to the surface smiling ear to ear and looking directly at me. You know the look. The look that says, “Go ahead. I’m waiting.” He knew me well enough to know that I was terrified – and that I pretty much had to make the jump after he did.

I hesitantly climbed the rock, second-guessing my every step. I finally made it to the top and stepped onto the flat rock. It was decision time.

Many of us are on the diving platform right now. We’ve come far enough to know what we need to do next. To know that we are at a moment in time where we have a decision to make. We can jump or climb down. But most of us take a third option. We stand on the diving platform for entirely too long waiting for an answer that’s never going to come. An answer to this question:

“What will it be like when I jump?”

We have all the information we need to make a decision. We know what the climb down is like because we already walked that path. But there is no way to know what the leap will be like without taking it yourself. That next book you read, I promise you, will not have the answer. Another training course will not resolve your anxiety. There is one and only one way to find the answer to that question:

“You must jump or spend your life wondering what that jump would’ve felt like.”
If you’re on the diving platform and faced with the jump, the obvious question is, “Why are you waiting?”

No one is coming to hold your hand. Jump or don’t jump, but do it now. Today. Yesterday, if you could.

The whole point is that standing on the diving platform is purely a waste of time. If you need to think through the decision, do it before you make the climb. If you’ve already finished the climb, commit to the jump. Period.

So that day, as I stood on the diving platform, I made a decision.

I jumped.

Today, I continue to jump. Starting businesses, taking risks, helping people, learning new skills. Whatever it is, I want to be a jumper. Not everyone does and I understand that. But if you want to be a jumper, climb that rock you’ve been looking at, step boldly onto the flat rock and jump.

The rest you’ll have to figure out when you hit the water.

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This post was written by Josh Layhue

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