A little over five years ago, I was having coffee with a friend, catching up and chatting about our lives.
My friend told me he had just returned from a family weekend getaway to Tahoe, where he had been eager to share a boating experience with his wife and their two kids. Unfortunately, his young daughter was less than enthusiastic. She was scared to get into the boat.
He tried reasoning with her, telling her there was nothing to fear. He pleaded with her — she’d love it once she just got in. He practically bribed her, but to no avail. She was stubborn, upset and stuck. The fear of the unknown was paralyzing her, and there was no budging her.
Or was there?
Exasperated, he confessed to me that he finally just picked her up and jumped into the dinghy, knowing that she would be happier once she was there. And you know what? She was. She relaxed, embraced her new surroundings and started to — gasp! — actually enjoy herself. In fact, she liked it so much she asked when they could do it again.
The funny thing is that my friend had been hemming and hawing about his own decision, and used this exact analogy to describe how his little apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
How often have you found yourself stuck in limbo, afraid to take a leap of faith and try something new? You weigh the pros and cons, assess the risk and decide…to hold off on deciding.
Oh, the agony!
If I’ve learned anything at this point in my life, it’s to take the risk. No, I’m not suggesting that you go willy-nilly into the world without care, making haphazard decisions without thinking them through.
What I’m speaking of are the times when you’ve already done the hours of analysis in your head, with your spouse, your best friend, your dog, your toddler… anyone who’ll listen. You get to a point where you instinctively know what to do, but are just too scared of the unknown and not being able to control the outcome and all the possible “what ifs.”
I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can’t control everything. And you can’t possibly anticipate life’s every nuance. But what you can control is your own action (or inaction).
Rather than worry about what will happen if you take that leap, think about the awesomeness you might miss out on if you don’t.
My advice? Jump into the dinghy!
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With special thanks to my friend Kevin, who inspired this post. And yes, I’m happy to report that he jumped into the dinghy.
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Amy is the president of rbp consulting, a consultancy specializing in helping transform organizations in transition. When she’s not involved in some sort of makeover, you’ll find her…unhappy. She enjoys being a badass writer, playing co-ed volleyball, and pretending she has her own HGTV show. She digs time with her friends and family, which includes a yellow lab named Rigby.
Originally published at medium.com