This past weekend, I met up with two friends here in Amsterdam, Tim and Sascha.
We met at a nearby dock to go for a swim. The dock was about 15 feet above the water.
Tim, a towering 6’5” Dutchman, backflipped into the water with a gymnast’s grace.
It was unexpected and incredible.
Full of energy and excitement, I walked to the edge of the dock with the intention to do a front flip.
When I was 11 years old, I regularly did flips off diving boards. Though it had been decades, I knew inside that I could still do it.
I stood at the edge to jump and froze.
I was terrified.
I am rarely that scared these days, but this was deep, body-shocking fear.
Sascha wanted to capture my flip on camera, but instead he got a five-second video of me walking up to the ledge, then walking away.
I took a step back. Calmed myself down. Decided again that I could and would attempt a flip. And approached the ledge again.
I bent my knees, lowered my hands, and prepared to launch myself. But then I froze again, this time nearly losing my footing and falling in.
My adrenaline was pumping at full throttle. My heart felt like it was going to pound right through my chest.
I let myself down again.
This happened about a half-dozen times.
My friends were encouraging so I wasn’t as embarrassed as I was disappointed in myself.
I took another step back and remembered an idea from psychologist Abraham Maslow that we shared in our Adventure Guide. Maslow theorized that at any given moment we have a choice: we can step forward into growth or we can step back into safety.
I knew that if I left here today having given in to fear, I would have further solidified this invisible wall of my comfort zone.
I owed it to my future self to break down that wall of fear.
I set my intention once again and blocked out all the voices in my head as I approached the edge of the dock. I launched myself off of it into a not-so-graceful leap, awkwardly throwing my legs over my head.
It wasn’t beautiful but I did it.
It wasn’t about the flip, it was about pushing back the wall of my comfort zone just a bit.
I didn’t do it for me, I did it for my future self.As it turned out, doing something for my future self was easier than doing something for myself.
P.P.S. Here is a clip that Sascha captured of me finally making the leap into fear :-)
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