When you take a risk you want it to be calculated. We did that. We rode our bikes on the bike path, down to Boom Island, and found a quiet, sandy spot to swim in the river.
It’s not easy times with the pandemic and the pools are closed. Beaches are closed too, but all we want to do is swim.
So this soft spot of sand right off of the Mississippi with a deep drop off and a quiet current feels perfect.
And then there’s the bridge. Like 15 feet off the water. Over the river. Calling us. Asking us to take a chance.
I swam out to the middle of the river below the bridge the first day and dove down as deep as I could. I didn’t hit the bottom, and that was proof it was safe to jump.
I knew I’d need to jump first.
I climbed over the edge of the railing and sat down on the ledge outside of it and without giving myself more than a thought I jumped into the water.
I screamed on the way down and heard myself.
I jumped before I was ready and I still knew it was the right thing to do.
I was sure the longer I waited to jump the less likely I would, and I knew we’d tested the depth, so…
It was safe.
But as I jumped, while I was screaming, I wasn’t sure of that safety.
It was scary.
I landed in the water and the current carried me back towards our sandy beach. I waited, and watched for my nephew to jump.
He sat for a long while and then rather than jumping he lowered himself down and hung from the bridge to make his drop less terrifying.
As he plopped into the water and came up I realized we have these moments.
Moments of chance.
Even after testing the waters and knowing it’s safe we still have this chance something could go wrong.
I watched my niece sit on the edge of the bridge and finally climb back over because she wasn’t willing to take the chance, yet.
It didn’t feel right and she wasn’t ready.
That day. The first day on the bridge, both Sidney and I jumped off a few times while people watched.
We got better with practice.
It’s a real and true thing that practice makes you better. And we didn’t feel as nervous after each try. The more we did it the easier it got.
The next day when we went to the island with new people we jumped effortlessly. And when they saw us jump without concern they also felt comfortable jumping.
So a couple new kids jumped. I actually did feel nervous because I don’t know their parents and I was the adult there, and wanted everyone to be safe.
But it is interesting to note;
When you see other people doing things easily, you feel more comfortable doing it easily.
The fact that Sid and I were jumping effortlessly off the bridge helped other kiddos feel comfortable about it. And so they did. They jumped too.
However, they weren’t there for the first day and the first few times that Sid and I had to train and practice and get easier about jumping. We did the work to make it feel safe and they came in later and piggybacked onto the easy.
When you’re the first out. You take a chance. You want it to be calculated. You test. Practice. And learn. Once you have it down you’re ready to represent.
My nephew Sid and I represented it was safe to jump off the bridge and now, seriously, all the neighborhood kids are doing it.
What are you representing? How are you showing up and taking chances? How are you testing the limits, calculating risks, and then taking action?
You have an opportunity to invite people to try new things. What are you inviting them to try?
Here’s the rub. If you take risks and do things others haven’t, and they watch you and want to try too, it makes you an influencer and leader. So pay attention to it.
Is it helping or hurting?
Just notice these things.
Sid and I have happily supported 3 kiddos in facing their fear of heights by jumping off this small Boom Island bridge.
I know. It’s a risk. It’s calculated though. Thought out. With intention. The feeling of fear is something to conquer every time you jump. We tested the depth. We knew it was deep enough.
If you know it’s safe and feel fear it’s growth.
If someone asks you to jump before they do, run away.