My sister came for a visit this last week, and I had the pleasure of enjoying her company along with my two nieces and nephew. As a result, I even got a little extra time with my wonderful son.
One of the days that they were in town, we had to find an indoor activity because it was raining outside. We decided to go to an indoor trampoline park.
Once we were inside, I was happy to sit on the sidelines and watch my nieces and nephew jump around and play dodgeball with my son. Within an hour’s time, my sister turned to me and said, “Do you want to go jump?”
I was surprised that she made this request. After all, we’re in our 40s. I don’t know that jumping on a trampoline would be very prudent — especially after we saw a boy come off the trampoline with a very broken wrist.
She had a little bit of glimmer in her eyes like it was when we were kids, and I thought, “What the heck? Let’s get our 30 minutes in, and let’s just jump.”
We jumped despite some jiggling, and honestly, maybe a little bit of liquid leaving our bladders. (Yes, TMI right now, but that’s what happens when you have kids!)
We jumped and jumped and jumped some more. And we laughed so so much as only sisters can. Most of all, my nieces, my nephew, and my son were so thrilled to see us out having fun with them.
There was a high diving board that fell into a pit of sponges, like a sponge bath that caught you from the height of the diving board, that my niece wanted to go on but was a little afraid. From where I stood on the sidelines, it didn’t look that high at all, and so I asked her if I went up there and jumped, would she jump with me?
She said yes, so I took her by the hand and walked her up to the platform, but when I got up there, for some reason, all of a sudden, I felt a little afraid.
I knew because I had been standing on the sidelines, that it wasn’t that high. We’re talking maybe 14 feet, maybe not even that high, maybe 12 feet, but it felt higher once I got to the top.
Suddenly, my mind started analyzing all the ways that I could break a bone. I wasn’t afraid of the height or the jumping; it was the landing that I was afraid of.
All these thoughts started running through my mind:
- What happens if my legs went first, and I twisted my ankle?
- What happens if I had a wrist that was bent over so backward like the poor boy that was walked off when we first got to the trampoline park?
- What would happen if I landed wrong and hurt my neck or my back or my knee?
I literally stood there frozen, analyzing all these things in my head, going through every possible scenario.
My niece looked up at me and was like, “Auntie, aren’t you going to jump?” I said, “I don’t know. I’m a little afraid.” I verbally was talking out loud, saying, “What if I do this? What if I do that? What if I break this? What if I break that?”
The attendant overheard me, and he said, “It’s really not that bad. All you have to do is land on your bum or your back. Just lay back or push your feet out, and you’ll be fine.”.
Taking a Leap (Literally!)
As much as I wanted to jump, I could not stop over-analyzing every possible outcome. It was at that moment that I realized that this is what I do. This is the type of brain that I have, where you run through every possible scenario so that you can fully know every outcome before you make a determination.
Granted, there are times I just leap and deal with it. I thought to myself, “I’ve done leaping before. Shoot, having this business was a leap.”
But this felt different. Why was I standing there analyzing? Why didn’t I just go? Just go!
Finally, a saw my little niece looking up at me, and I realized she was waiting for me to go. She wasn’t going to go unless I went, and so I did it for her. I just jumped off the platform and leaped.
In mid-air, I felt my feet go to a standing position, a position that the attendant told me not to go in, but my body was trying to protect the landing.
It’s weird how we try to determine outcomes and put things in our way, thinking it’s going to help us when, in reality, it can only hurt us.
At the last minute, I lifted my legs up and landed firmly on my bum. It was a completely wonderful landing. No broken bones, no injuries, and furthermore, I was able to look back up at my niece and say, “Now it’s your turn.”
After I got out of the sponge pit, I realized how much this was just like entrepreneurship. Nothing about this is necessarily easy, and sometimes taking the leap might feel easy but you get midway up there and start to panic. Sometimes, it paralyzes us from our next projects, passion items, or next opportunities.
We start thinking of every possible outcome, and we get frozen in any decision. As a result, we don’t progress forward.
Facing the Fear and Doing It Anyway
Over the last several years, there have been a lot of projects that I have been contemplating, a lot of things I wanted to try and do, things I might have started but never finished. All because I was worried that somebody else was doing it and would do it better or that no one would want it, buy it, or try it.
The reality was I got so frozen, that nothing got accomplished.
For the last four and a half years, I’ve just been working for my clients, seeing their leaps happen and their soft landings but not taking one of my own.
Finally, this year, I decided I would take more leaps.
This year, I would try, no matter what. If I succeeded, great, and if I failed, well, then I was just going to have to try again. (You’ve got to start somewhere, right?)
That decision to take the leap is how different projects and joint ventures that I’m now a part of are happening. I don’t know what the outcome is going to be yet, but I’m doing it anyway.
To be perfectly frank, I’m still terrified. What if all of this time, effort, and yes, money, that we’re investing is going to be for naught?
Well, at least I can say I gave it my all, and I tried my best. You just have to take that leap sometimes and hope that you can land safely down at the bottom.
But the truth is, if you don’t try, you’ll never even know what’s possible.
[bctt tweet=”You just have to take that leap sometimes and hope that you can land safely down at the bottom.” username=”freshtakepro”]
Share any tips or tricks you have for overcoming analysis paralysis in the comments below!