I have a mindset that I call “throw yourself off the cliff.”
When a scary but great opportunity arises, don’t overthink it. Just say yes to it, even if it is a stretch for you skill-wise, ability-wise, everything-wise.
If you weigh your options, taking precious stock of where you are and whether you can do it, you’ll not only waste time and energy, you’ll also most likely talk yourself out of it. You’ll get scared and say no.
Don’t do this.
Instead, just throw yourself off the cliff. Say yes. And figure out how to do the thing you fear.
The origin story of this phrase and way of being for me is this: I’m a bit scared of heights if I let myself be. But it was a deep, hot Wyoming summer and I had just hiked to a mountain lake and there was an enormous boulder on the shore that all the locals like to jump off of.
It’s definitely something I want to do too. It looks fun and I know hitting the cold mountain water is going to feel amazing. But I’m nervous and terrified. I watch my friend stand there, then take a running start and leap off the edge of the boulder. I count one second, two seconds and then hear a splash from down below and a second later he lets a thrilling “Yahoo!” as he pops up from underwater. He shouts encouragements and all the other glorious things humans shout in when we’ve hit a cold body of water from above.
I know I have to do it but I am petrified. I’m not doing and not doing and not doing it until I flip a switch in my mind and run toward the looming edge, thinking “fuck it” in my mind.
And yes, the fall through the air and the shockingly cold splash was 1000% worth it. But I had to throw myself off. If I stood around waiting any longer it wasn’t going to happen.
In your work or your career, when you throw yourself off the cliff, you’ll be in free fall but that fall is exactly what will force you into action. Your self-respect and and pride kicks in. You start taking the actions you need to take so as not to make a complete mess of the situation, so as not to hit the ground.
Saying yes to the TEDx talk was like this for me. I felt scared to do it, unsure of if I could even pull it off in the short amount of time I had to put it together. But as I was having these doubts and fears, I forced my mouth to shape the word “yes.” I’d thrown myself off enough cliffs by this point in my life that I knew it was the right thing to do. I had not clue HOW but I knew I could. The how would come later, as I was flying through the air.
What cliff do you want to throw yourself off of?