I can still see the shimmering blue water at least 10 feet beneath my toes which were gripping the edge of the high dive platform. I was about to try my first front flip and panic settled into every cell of my being.
I failed at that flip, striking the water in some awkward way that stung like crazy. I most likely consoled myself with an ice cream sandwich from the snack bar with my pre-teen friends, but I didn’t give up. By the end of the day, I had a few decent flips under my belt. And I certainly wasn’t afraid of the high dive after that.
Recently I made a fairly big change in my life that gave me the same kind of panic I experienced so many years ago as a kid: after nearly 10 years, I made a job change.
What is so interesting about the gravity of this particular job change is the comparison to the way I breezed through jobs in my 20’s without a second thought. Not only changing jobs, but literally moving from state to state and from one end of the country to another with little more than a brief glance over my shoulder.
But now there was so much more at stake. And that is the real difference.
Not only our livelihood which includes a home, a teenager, a myriad of pets, car payments, and insurance, but also my personal connections in our community that were tied so closely to my former organization. I felt the weight of it all… and that high dive became a bit higher as I considered the impact of my decision.
There are times in our life that we must change for reasons that are as varied as kaleidoscopes in the sun. For me, the time had come to make the leap. And I’ll never forget that moment on the phone watching as the summer wind ruffled the leaves in the trees and I said “I accept the offer.”
That was about 8 months ago and I’m pretty sure many of my friends feel that I’ve just about vanished from the face of the earth. It’s been a constant cycle of exhilaration, exhaustion, fascination, and pure fun. I’ve had a few awkward strikes in the water paired with a one or two blissful jumps that helped me get back up and do it all over again. Plus, I’ve been meeting a lot of really awesome people along the way and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Change is not easy, especially when the decisions seem so risky. But sometimes we need to follow our intuition and take the leap.
So, if you’re faced with a big impending decision, I might offer as comfort the words of the great Nina Simone:
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life…
For me. And I’m feeling good.
Take the leap. And feel good.