Are You Ready to Jump?

Today’s post is inspired by three quotes that I encountered in the last 24 hours. “Are you ready to jump.” “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.” “Great people do things before they’re ready.” How’s THAT for inspiration?

All of these quotes resonate with me in different, but similar, ways. The first is from Madonna’s song Jump. Warning: If you are going to hate on Madonna take it elsewhere! If ever a woman was an example of being a strong individual defined by her own accomplishments, it’s Madge. Unapologetic bitch, indeed! Anyway, this song Jump is my go-to song when I “hit the wall” in runner’s speak, or am nearing the end of a run and don’t think I can finish. I experienced this today and started flipping through my iPod songs in the hopes of getting my groove back to the sounds of a good, hard beat, when I landed on Jump. As soon as I heard it begin I knew I was going to finish strong. Even though just seconds before I was a sweaty, defeated mess just counting the minutes until I reached my goal distance (and trying to convince myself I had already gone far enough), somehow I found myself increasing the speed on the treadmill, upping the incline, and pushing through, and even past, my goal distance. Damn, music is powerful. But aside from the motivation the beat provided, the message in the song is just as powerful. “Are you ready to jump, get ready to jump, don’t ever look back,” are words that always get me thinking about the things I have done in my life that seemed like giant leaps of faith at the time. Like standing over a chasm of uncertain depth, which might lead to something really unpleasant, but choosing to take the plunge anyway. It is a fucking scary feeling, but sometimes fear is not so bad. It tells us that what we are about to do is probably pretty freaking awesome.

Which brings me to quote number two: “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.” The rest of the quote says, “Often we think ‘I’ll do it when I am not so afraid.’ But in reality, it works the other way round. The ‘doing it’ comes before the fear goes away. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.” To see the rest of the post you can go here (https://www.facebook.com/brandyn.heppard). It is really quite poignant and falls directly in line with what I write about, which is how we often stand in our own way when we should be getting the hell out there and rocking the shit out of this life we have. When the fear starts creeping in, you know it is about to get good! I am not talking about fear of real, life threatening situations mind you (in which case you should get ready to fight like hell or get the hell out of the situation), but fear of something unknown, something new, something completely outside the realm of your comfort zone, but absolutely fascinating, enticing, and potentially life-changing. Yeah. That’s the sweet spot!

And the third: “Great people do things before they are ready.” This quote came from Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls (https://www.facebook.com/amypoehlersmartgirls). Wow. That is something I had never considered!   Great people do things before they are ready. We have all had those moments when we put something off because we aren’t ready. Maybe we aren’t as prepared as we would like to be. Maybe we just need a little more time to fine tune something. Or maybe, we are afraid. Maybe we are scared of whatever it is we are about to do, and so we keep it at bay by saying we are not ready. This implies we will be ready at some point, but just not right now. It is an easy way to assuage our fears and not feel like total losers for avoiding something potentially important. I have certainly been there. Hell, it can be something as simple as an unpleasant meeting I am avoiding, to something as serious and life altering as having children. But here’s the thing about readiness – when are we ever really ready for anything that has the potential to be life changing? We cannot possibly prepare for everything. We cannot possibly be perfectly equipped to deal with every situation we are going to find ourselves in. In my experience, the situations you are least prepared for end up bringing you the greatest potential for personal growth.

My personal example, which I will just share a snippet of (as I have a whole book dedicated to it that will be out soon – yes, this is a shameless plug), was my journey to Tibet as a young, green graduate student. I was not an outdoorsy girl. I was not confident in my geologic field skills or my scientific skills. I was terrified of getting altitude sick. I was convinced I was going to die out there. But for some reason I decided to hell with all of that nonsense, and just threw myself into it full boar, taking the unknown path leading into a murky and exotic distance that I could not fully picture. I felt the fear and did it anyway. I don’t think I am a great person by any means, but I surely did this thing before I thought I was ready. Turns out, I was ready to jump. And the result was the single most important, life-changing, defining experience of my entire life.

I am a firm believer that nothing with the potential for being truly life altering comes without some amount of associated fear. I have several friends who have done similar things, or are doing them right now! Check out Kim Brown’s SailingBritican page (https://www.facebook.com/SailingBritican) – a woman who dropped everything and took of on a sailboat to explore the world! Christ, that takes balls. Or my dear friend Sarah who, as a young college student left her home country behind and went to Germany to live and work, before she knew the language or how she was going to survive. Why did she do it? She wanted to. Was she scared? I have no doubt.  But she rocked that shit.

I suspect most of us have done something that felt like it was a huge jump beyond our comfort zone (or at least a little hop out of our everyday norm). I want to hear about it! Message me, tweet me, or leave a comment, and tell me about your skip, hop, jump, or giant leap into the unknown. Come on ladies (and gents) – recognize your greatness! Tell your stories! Represent, yo!

And the next time you find yourself in a position to try something slightly scary but oh so amazing, ask yourself, “are you ready to jump?”  And then, do it anyway.

About the Author:

Jess Kapp is a geologist, educator, and writer. She teaches geology at the University of Arizona, where she is a senior lecturer and the associate department head in the department of geosciences. Her memoir, Girl on the Roof of the World, is about her life-changing experience as the lone woman in a group of six traveling into the remote interior of Tibet on a three-month research expedition.

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