Taking a leap of faith, even when you’re scared
When I was 15 years old I started jumping off bridges. These weren’t measly little bridges, these were ass-bruising bridges, quite literally (see image below if you don’t believe me). The truth is, I had (and still have) a fear of heights and I was dead set on proving myself that I could do it. I’ve always had an interesting sense of adventure with generous dashes of naivety and stupidity — my mom and dad can attest to this. The free fall going into the water is always scary, but the rush when you hit the water is awesome. However, the real reason behind this was to build confidence in myself by pushing my boundaries.
I’ve generally taken the unconventional route to things. Boring has never been my thing. This has likely caused my parents (and me) many sleepless nights, but even still they’ve always been supportive of my non-linear approach to life. Whenever I ask my dad about any ridiculous idea I’ve latched on to, he supports me and generally responds with “I’ve always admired your adventurous spirit.” My dad is smart. I truly believe he supports me regardless, but he always knows I’m going to do what I want regardless of the advice he provides.
When a lot of my friends in college were studying abroad in Europe, Australia and South America, I chose to go to Ghana for an internship at a TV station. After the first week, I landed myself in the hospital with some awful food poisoning. If you have ever had food poisoning in a third world country, you know my pain. When I called my parents in the hospital to tell them about my bad luck, they seemed to know this was going to happen and told me to stay strong. The thought of going home never crossed either of our minds. I was here for adventure and challenge and Lord was I going to get a few! But of all the decisions that I’ve ever made in my life, studying abroad in Ghana remains the best one yet. It was horrible, it was amazing, it was horrible and it was amazing again.
Shortly after graduating college, I applied THREE times for a news desk assistant position at the NewsHour in Arlington, Va, just outside of D.C. My persistence paid off (or the news desk assistant manager was really tired of hearing from me) and I finally got the job after the third try. With a little more than a month notice, I took myself, all by myself, to D.C. Scared shitless is an understatement for how I felt. When I moved, I had no friends in D.C., no place to live, no car, $500 in my bank account, two suit cases and had never been to the city I was going to now be calling home. I think I cried to my sister once a week for the first few months. I hated it. BUT, I did it. It scared the shit out of me, but I did it. I did it with the help of many people I met along the way (you all know who you are) and now I’ve been here for 10 years.
The point of me telling you all of this is to do something that scares you. This could be a reminder to myself to take that leap in my own life, while also serving as a reminder to you.
We have one life to live — ONE. Hold on to the thought for a moment.
So, if you’re on the cliff of a big life decision that could potentially reap rewards in the future, but is scary as hell, I say take that jump. Your ass may end up a little bruised, you may be a little discombobulated after the jump, but you likely won’t regret it when all is said and done. Most often in life we regret the things we didn’t do more than the things we did. So take that leap! You can thank me later.