Doing Hard Things

When I was a kid I loved jumping off of cliff sides into Smith lake. There was something exhilarating about climbing barefoot up that rough, rocky terrain only to get to the top and realize that the biggest challenge was still in front of me. Staring over the edge, stomach turning, feet anchored firmly to the dry land, the height always seemed higher than what it looked from the boat. Inevitably the number of jumpers was less than the number of climbers. For some, it was too much. Climbing back down the mountain carrying the shame of defeat was more tolerable for them than the fear of the jump.

The difference between those who did and didn't jump wasn't a whole lot. It really came down to the willingness to take a single step. Gravity does all of the work for you. And I don't think there's any real secret to overcoming that fear. You just have to decide and then do it. Maybe not easy, but very straightforward. 

There's an obvious translation here for doing hard things in our lives. Whether it's starting a business, firing an employee or going to the dentist, sometimes you just have to do it. Take the first step. The inertia of your actions will often carry you to the water. Then you get back out, climb up that mountain and do it again. The fear will still be there. Only this time it's much more familiar and you know exactly what it feels like to take that single step.