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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Practice Leaping

Yesterday, a recruiter I follow on LinkedIn posted what I believe was supposed to be an inspirational comic, but I couldn't help but chuckle when I saw it.

"Sure... but what happens if you're not very good at leaping?"

Not to over-analyze a comic, but if you get a ruler, you'll see the chasm shown is roughly four times the width of the person's stance, outer-leg to outer-leg.

Can you leap across a distance that's four times your width?

As it happens, I actually can... but it absolutely isn't easy, and I can only do it because I've been taking CrossFit classes for the past three years, and we do broad jumps fairly regularly as part of the warm-up.

Do I think I could leap a distance equal to four times my natural stance without having been shown the proper technique and without having practiced my leaps repeatedly to build the necessary strength in my leg muscles? Um, no.

And in any case, would I test myself if I was unsure by attempting to jump from one cliff edge to another? Definitely not.

I took a leap of sorts five years ago when I decided to start consulting, but it wasn't a giant leap over a chasm; over a 20-year career, I've built my problem-solving muscles, and I was confident I could accomplish what my corporate client needed from me. My experience also continues to serve as a safety-net: if I ever decide I want to go back to a corporate role, that's still an option.

If you dream of becoming a professional writer, that's terrific. But if you've never written anything before in your life, quitting your job to make what would be a giant leap towards "author" would likely be ill-advised.

So continue working your day-job, but start writing every night. Share your writing online with friends, and get their feedback. Take writing classes. Enter writing contests. Contribute articles to local newspapers and magazines. Build your writing muscles, and leap when you believe you're strong enough to cross the chasm.

You can certainly take one, giant leap without any training and without setting up any safeguards.

But if you do that and miss, the fall could be fatal.

Faith is admirable, and needed, but it's usually not enough.

Practice leaping.

- dp


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