Saturday, January 8, 2011

Living On the Edge

About to Jump Over the Fjords with Parachutephoto © 2009 Mike Rosenberg | more info (via: Wylio)
When I hear about someone "living on the edge," it conjures up the image of someone who lives a very adventurous life. I'll think of a person who is fearless and who lives their life with abandon.

But there's another kind of "edge living" that is a little bit less exciting. And I've been finding myself there more than I'd like to admit.

The picture I picked today is titled "About to Jump Over the Fjords with Parachute." The person in the photo is just moments away from what looks like a really thrilling experience. He's got his chute on and he's going to experience the wind in his face and an experience as close as any of us can get to flying. I don't know if he'd done it before, but I imagine something like this doesn't get old.

What if he didn't jump? I'm sure just standing on that ledge is a pretty awesome thing. It looks like a breath-taking view. At that height, there's no doubt a good breeze going on. He's out in the open air, in nature. Not too shabby.

But I'm going to guess that if he didn't jump, he'd be disappointed. He had packed his chute and learned how to use it safely. He made the trip up the mountain. He probably told at least a few people that his plan was to go and jump off the fjord. There was no doubt a financial investment in the preparation for this event.

Yeah, I'd say it's a safe bet that he'd be bummed if he skipped the jump.

Last week I tweeted, "98% is really, really good, but some endeavors require 100%. The courage to finish that 2% can be hard to find."

At the time this picture was taken, the person had done 98% of the job. That's impressive. That's more than a lot of people do. But that last 2% is the pay-off. It's what makes it all worth it.

How many of us go 98% toward our dreams and then chicken out at the end?

I do this all. the. time.

I recently was approached about an opportunity that scares the living daylights out of me and which I dismissed immediately. Several good friends were encouraging about it, but my super awesome husband is the one who framed it in this light for me and gave me the kick in the rear that I really needed to give it some serious thought rather than a knee-jerk reaction. And to examine why it is that I allow myself to live on the edge, but not to jump.

I start something. I'll work hard on it. I'll pour money, sweat, tears, time into it and then, right before it's time for it to really take off, I'll stop. What if it fails? What if someone laughs at me? What if I'm not good enough? What if I succeed and then it gets taken away? What if...?

And that "what if" will stop me dead in my tracks. I'm frozen on the edge. The view is beautiful, but it's bittersweet because it reminds me of what I didn't pursue.

What dream have you put off because of fear? What endeavor have you poured into only to back out at the last minute because you were worried about someone else's reaction?

And perhaps more important, is today the day you're going to stop living on the edge and just jump?

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