How to Jump Even When Afraid

4 Tips to conquering your fears

Photo by Ian Wagg

An article began appearing all over social media the day after my failed attempt to jump, accompanied by an image of a man mid-flight after soaring off a cliff towards pristine water waiting below. Despite the heat, begging from my children to join in the splashing fun, and a desire to do so, I could not make myself leap the mere two feet off a boat into the refreshing water.

“Will I ever jump?” I wondered. 

 The soothing, encouraging words of men’s mindset and healing Coach Ronnie Webb II were seemingly aimed at me. Maybe if his words had been swimming around my head prior to the lake adventure, I could have garnered enough confidence to get over myself and just do it. Jump!

It’s known by everyone in my family, “Mama’s not jumping off anything!”

I don’t jump off diving boards. I won’t even jump off the edge of a pool into the water. Not curbs or steps, platforms or… anything I could think of.

“What else don’t I jump off?” I asked my husband, who looked half amused, half perplexed, gauging my seriousness before answering…

“Anything that requires a quick decision?”

Well, damn. 

 He was right. I’m not a jumper.

Once in high school while practicing a bus evacuation, I succumbed to peer-pressure and jumped off the back of the bus. Promptly landing on my hands and knees, the sting of embarrassment and residue of fear lasted long after the scrapes on my palms healed.  Any subsequent bus drill thereafter resulted in me sitting on the edge and gently hopping down. 

 I always take what is deemed to be the ‘safer’ route.

Jumping is SCARY. I have nightmares about it, dreams as recent as last week where I am required to jump off the ledge of a loading dock, down to some parking lot area below. I MUST jump because there is no other option. In the dreams (and real life) before I jump I’m TERRIFIED. And when I leap, I end up frozen in time.

In my dream world, gravity doesn’t work and I don’t fall like I would in real life. I don’t luxuriously fly. I don’t go splat on the concrete below either. I just languish there, stuck in the freefall.

What is my subconscious trying to tell me?

In real life I’m stuck in my own old thought patterns, fears and beliefs!

I’m not only afraid to jump, but afraid of the fall, the landing, whatever end result comes after.

4 Tips to Taking the Jump…

As intimidating change is, resisting the urge to evolve is really what equals stagnation and death. Here are four ways to start conquering your fears and feel better about triumphing over new obstacles.

It’s normal to be scared, but more natural to JUMP!

Abdicating the familiar ground beneath my feet means certain death, right? The ground feels stable. We obtain a level of security when we leave our feet remaining planted firmly on the ground. But humans are not plants. We don’t require physical roots to keep us growing.

We were made for freedom. Born to move, roam, explore, experience, evolve. Humans are required to break out of our self-contained limitations in order to grow and thrive. It’s OK to be afraid, but try doing it anyways and find out what happens next.

Celebrate small victories

When someone tacked a day long boating excursion to our recent family camping trip (which felt like a personal stretch already) my anxiety ridden brain immediately defaulted to “We’re all going to die!”

So while I didn’t jump into the water (this time!) I at least made it onto the boat! We didn’t die, nobody even got hurt.

And sitting from the comfort of my couch a week later snuggled safely behind the screen of a computer, I honestly wish I had the bragging rights to say I soared off the side… and lived to tell.

Every step you make is forward progress, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. The fact you are even considering jumping after a lifetime of avoiding the edge is a step in the direction of fulfilling your destiny.

Honor your self-care routine.

Take the time to take care for you. You don’t have to do alllll the new things at once. But push yourself far enough past your comfort level to learn and grow beyond old thought patterns and limitations.

If you have no desire to jump, don’t bully yourself into doing what everyone else is doing just because a voice in your head is telling you what you should be doing.  Don’t compare everyone else’s actions to your true desires.

If you friends jumped off a bridge would you? Maybe, maybe not.

What do you want? If you aspire to sit on shore gently swaying in a hammock enjoying the peace and quiet of alone time while everyone else hurls themselves off the upper level of a boat… by all means claim and enjoy your preferred method of fun and relaxation.

But if there’s a pull towards adventure or a yearning to switch up your behavior patterns, prepare for lift off!

Be Inspired by Others

Let someone else lead you in. Trail the greatness of the ones who have gone before you, the people who had the bravery to stand up and leap first. Ride on the curtails of their curiosity. Follow in faith that whatever endeavor you’re attempting has been done before. If they can do it, so can you.

And if you’re truly forging into the great unknown and attempting something that’s actually never been done before? Even more reason to press GO on your dreams.

Channel the energy of all who will come behind you. Become a leader that jumps and lives to say “Hey, I made it. Take my hand, we can do this together.”

Once we stop letting fear dictate our experiences, there’s more than could ever be imagined on the other side of YES.

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