When I was a kid, I loved to swim, but to swim in the deep end I had to pass a swim test which included me to jump off the high dive, swim to the far end and back, and then tread water for 3 minutes or something like that. I was a good swimmer, but I was so deathly afraid of jumping off the high dive. Nothing my parents did or said helped. It ultimately came down to facing my fear to get what I wanted. I remember I would say to myself, today I am going to jump off the high dive and I would prance myself over to the board, climb up the ladder and walk out on the board only to chicken out and walk back the other way and climb down really bummed that I couldn’t do it. I don’t remember how many times I did this, but it was a lot! I remember seeing my sister and my friends in the deep end and I desperately wanted to be there too. So one day at the pool, I worked up the courage to go over to the diving board, again I walked out, but this time I didn’t chicken out. As nervous and scared as I was, I took a deep breath, and then took another to hold my breath in as I jumped into the water. As I floated back to the top of the water, I was so proud of myself (plus I didn’t plunge to my death!) I felt so free and after that I took the test and passed! I was so happy to swim in the deep end with my friends and family. My parents couldn’t get me to stop after that, I went back to the board day after day and used the high dive to jump in the water.
Jumping off the high dive can also be a metaphor for our lives. How many times have you jumped off the high dive in your life? Or were you super cautious like me? As we get older, I think our willingness to take risks goes down. Maybe part of it is, is that we feel like as we get older we have to be more responsible so we don’t take as many risks. I know, I feel like that. But what about taking a risk to have a baby and you’re over 35 (the age where it’s more risky to have a child major eye roll from me over here lol!) Or maybe you really want to adopt and you’re unsure. Those seem more reasonable. First, ask yourself, what is holding you back?
Because I have been a risk averse person almost my entire life, I can tell you that I know every excuse in the book about why I can’t do something. It’s sad, but it’s true. I have told myself I can’t do things because it’s not the right time. Um, when is the right time then? I have told myself I can’t do things because I’m too afraid of the result of my actions. I think to myself, what if someone doesn’t like it? Perhaps, I should be saying, what if people DO like it? Ok, one more example, because I am the Queen of excuses. I also tell myself that I can’t do things because it’s not what I “should” do. Really, I am letting society/family/friends dictate my actions?
I am really good at these stories, aren’t I? In answer to the question, what is holding me back? In truth, I am holding me back because I let fear and other factors take hold of my thoughts. Next time you find yourself thinking of an excuse as to why you can’t do something, turn it around to the opposite and see what comes up. It’s not the right time becomes It is the right time. What if someone doesn’t like it becomes what if someone does like it. I shouldn’t do it becomes I should do it. After you get to that opposite thought, write a list of reasons as to how that could be true and keep it with you as your motivation. Post in the comments your thoughts and turnarounds!