When I was young, my family spent our summers in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania. Catty for short. These were great summers spent running around outside catching lightening bugs or swimming in the Catty pool or playing make believe with my brothers and sisters.
There was one ritual during these summers, when we reached a certain age, that scared me beyond words. The high-dive at the Catty pool was the scariest thing to me. When I turned 8 years old, I was summoned by my Dad and his best friend, Wabs. It was time for me to jump off the high dive and plunge to my death, I mean. . . overcome that rite of passage.
Do you know what that is like? That terrifying moment when you walk to the end of the platform and let go and have no idea how you will nail the landing. That moment when you let go of knowing how everything will end up.
This is a lot like the hurtles we face everyday. The anticipation of what could happen is the scariest part. We have watched many before us jump off the high dive without incident, but when it comes to our turn, we assume the worst.
For a long time, I felt this way anytime I would take on a new role or start a project where I was not an expert- the new metaphorical high dives in my life. I would get myself so worked up with how things could go wrong and forget to think about how I was growing and expanding the “things I can do” list. But then I remembered a few things that changed my perspective.
I mentioned my Dad and Wabs called me over to take the plunge. Here is the other part- the after, that I didn’t mention.
When I walked to the edge of that platform and looked down, my Dad and Wabs were there, ready to grab me once I jumped. And my brothers and sisters, they were there too, at the edge of the pool, yelling encouragment. And today, when I am on the edge of any platform, folks are there too.
It might not be something as dramatic as jumping off the high dive as a tiny child, but the point is, they are there. I have my core group for every scary moment. When I am afraid of what move to make in my career, I have mentors who know me better than anyone professionally. When I start dating a new guy and want to vet him, I have my group of girls, including six strong sisters that will kick him in the shins if he makes a wrong move. When I get worried about a project at work and don’t know where to even start, I have a team beside and behind me that keeps me going.
It took me a long time to notice these folks. Most of them were always there. Some are new. All of them have one thing in common. They are at the bottom of that high dive waiting to catch me or standing on the sidelines cheering me on. For that, I will always be grateful.
If you don’t know your core “people”, look for them. They are probably there and you just haven’t noticed them. They usually work behind the scenes and make things happen for you without you even being aware.
If you don’t think you have these folks yet, start looking around. Invest in being their sideline cheerleaders and guess what, it will come back tenfold.