During my whitewater rafting trip, I had the opportunity to take a plunge. Literally, off the side of a cliff.
The plunge was scary. The height from which we jumped seemed like it may shatter a bone.
Yet after I jumped off of the ledge, it was thrilling. There was a sense of freedom knowing I was able to plunge 40 feet and come out unscathed.
How similar is this to our leadership journey?
The decision to climb up the cliff was mine. No one forced me or coerced me. I willingly made the journey to a spot I knew would be difficult.
Our path into leadership starts the same way. We make a choice to begin leading. We take the responsibility of leadership and we walk with it.
Eventually we get to a point where we can’t go any further. We look around and try to decide what to do next.
At this point, we realize there’s only one way to continue. We’ve got to take a jump into the unknown.
Taking The Plunge
The unknown is always scary. We think of everything negative that could happen.
DEATH. FAILURE. HUMILIATION.
These outcomes are either far-fetched and unlikely (Death) or they’re greatly exaggerated (Failure and humiliation).
We stop thinking of what positive outcomes could take place.
EXHILARATION. SUCCESS. NEW HORIZONS.
Honestly, these are the outcomes that happen more likely than not when we decide to go into the unknown. We experience joy, success, fulfillment when we walk headlong into the unknown.
Why? Because we were created to take on challenges and to discover new frontiers. We were designed with a sense of exploration and risk taking.
It’s been instilled in us!
While I was scared to jump from the 100 foot cliff (Notice how the cliff grew from 40 foot to 100 foot, the rafting company said the stories will grow), I did it anyways. It was an experience I will never forget.
Leadership will open up such experiences to you as well. You’ll get to a point where the next decision seems risky. The question is, do you take the plunge or turn around?
There wouldn’t have been this memorable experience if I had decided to stay on the ledge, unwilling to plunge into the flowing water below. Instead, there would have been shame as I turned around and walked back down.
That’s where the true danger is.
In turning around we give up the chance to shine. We give up the hope of excitement. We give up our ability to experience something new.
Question: What do you need to plunge into today? What could you experience if you took action on it? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.