“Don’t think about it. Just jump!”

My fourteen year old niece is standing on the edge of the top diving board. I don’t know much about diving boards, but I know it’s high.

She peers over the edge of the board, one hand grips the metal safety bar to the side of her, the other rests on her stomach.

She looks over to me and my sister, treading water in the pool below. “I can’t do it!” She shouts, “I’m scared.”

“Just jump, come on! You can do this!”

She shakes her head and steps back, hands grappling the safety bar and scoots to the side, letting a kid pass by her. He walks nonchalantly to the edge of the board and jumps off, feet first, pulling his knees to his chest just before he enters the water. She watches him.

I can see that she wants to jump. Her face is defiant and yet she’s uncertain.

Uncertain of what will happen once she takes that first leap.
Uncertain of what will happen once she hits the water.

“You’re overthinking it now! Just walk to the edge and jump. Come on!” I shout.

My sister joins in, “You can do this!”

She looks at us, slowly moving towards the edge once more.

She peers down at the pool and then straight ahead. Her chest rises as she takes a deep breath in.

And then she jumps.

There’s a moment – suspended in mid air, legs grappling, a finger and thumb pinching the tip of her nose – where she looks scared.

I hold my breath. My sister holds hers.

We watch as she hits the water. And then we wait as she goes under.

1 second. 5 seconds. 10 seconds.

She appears.

Grinning. Exhilarated. Wanting to do it again.

I’ve been on that diving board so many times in my life. My toes curled over the edge, peering down in to dubious waters, uncertain as I’m clutching my phone, keying in the numbers to make the call, or hovering over the send button of an email or my hand wavering on the door handle, moments before walking into the room for an interview or to talk in front of hundreds of people.

Waiting. Over-thinking. Too scared to move.

We all do it, don’t we?

We put it off. Promising ourselves that we’ll do it one day but, no, today is not that day. We wait, for the moment to feel right, when everything comes together; when the money’s there and life feels good and we’re settled and happy. “Then I’ll jump”, we tell ourselves.

And until that perfect moment, we press pause. On the ideas that light us up. On the plans that excite us. On the relationship or career we want more than anything.

It’s easier that way. To press pause. Because when we press pause we don’t have to do anything. We’re safe in the comfort of just thinking about it. It feels good there, right? Thinking about it feels like we’re moving and doing and planning, but in reality, we’re not doing any of those things.

The reason we’re not doing any of those thing? We’re scared. More than scared, we’re fucking terrified and uncertain.

Uncertain of what will happen once we take that first leap.
Uncertain of what will happen once we hit the water.

And yet the only way we’ll know is when we stop thinking about it and just jump.

My question to you, wherever you are in the world, whatever you’re doing: Where in your life do you need to just jump? I’d love to know! Head on over to Facebook and tell me.


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