Have you ever said, “There’s no way you could ever talk me into doing that,” and then you wound up being talked into it? Maybe it was riding a roller coaster, trying a strange type of cuisine, hopping on the back of a friend’s motorcycle, or some other unique experience.

For me, it was skydiving. I’m afraid of heights, and 12,000 feet up in the air is certainly high. Let me just say this: everyone thinks their fears are reasonable, but shouldn’t we all be afraid of heights? Those people who do parkour (the sport where you jump from building to building or do handstands on the roofs of high rises) are nuts! We weren’t made to fall, so why stand so close to the edge? Whether you agree with me or not that being afraid of heights is perfectly reasonable (though it is), you probably find it surprising that someone with that fear would jump from an airplane. I surprised myself too.

Taking a Big Leap

What does it take to step out of our comfort zones to do something potentially risky but also possibly amazing?

It’s strange, but some of my life’s most memorable moments came from taking a big leap. More often than not, I wind up being grateful when I do something outside of my comfort zone. It’s good for me to remember this because I don’t want to live by fear. I want to live life to the fullest, with unique experiences and exciting memories.

So, why did I jump that time? And what does it take for any of us to step out of our comfort zones to do something potentially risky but also possibly amazing? I think there are 6 critical components.

A Challenging Instigator

I’m not the type of person who would think it’s a good idea to jump out of an airplane. But I know someone who is the type – and he invited me to join him. Peer pressure can be bad, as we all know from experience. But it can be good too. We all need challengers: people who question our status quo and inspire us to step out of our comfort zones to do something worthwhile. I wouldn’t have jumped without him pushing me to do it.

A Call to Adventure

Sometimes when someone challenges us to do something unique, it doesn’t at all connect with us. But every once in a while, something just clicks. Our hearts perk up and tell us, “Let’s do this!” I think within all of us there is a call to adventure, and yet all too often we drown out that voice with busy schedules, routines, and fears. Jumping requires us to stop and listen to that desire for adventure.

A Competent Guide

When we pulled up to the skydiving place, I was anxious about how professional they would be. If it was just a guy drinking a six-pack and stumbling around as he tried to start a rusty airplane, I was out of there. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. This team of instructors and experts knew what they were doing. They had each jumped hundreds of times. Any good memory of a great leap of faith in my life has involved the expertise of an experienced guide. I needed someone who could take me further than I could ever go on my own. Or, in this case, someone who could pack a parachute that would open properly.

A Crazy Resolve

Getting to the airplane took some courage. Riding in the airplane up to the right altitude required a lot more. My knuckles gripped the sides of my seat so tightly they turned ghost white. While I think it took only 20 minutes to get to 12,000 feet, it felt like 2 days. Living a life of adventure doesn’t just happen. In fact, doing anything significant doesn’t just happen either. We have to stay the course and follow through, even when our fears and insecurities fight against us.

A Critical Moment of Truth

To jump or not to jump, that is the question. Wanting to jump doesn’t mean you will. I think our lives are defined by different moments of truth. How we respond when the plane door opens and the cold wind hits our face is up to us, but taking a leap requires jumping at some point. That’s true in all areas of life: faith in God, moving to a new city, quitting our current job in pursuit of a dream, proposing to our significant other, or something else.

A Celebration!

I’ll never forget the feeling of my feet touching the ground. Sweet relief! I don’t remember how much I tipped my tandem skydiving guide, but it was a lot. Now that we had defied death, there were pictures taken, drinks to be had, and stories to be told. Celebrations are critical. We need to acknowledge when we’ve taken big steps. Celebrating milestones help us dream of new next steps and other adventures to pursue.

So, what adventure is on your heart? Is it time to take a leap of faith? We’ve only got one life to live and time is precious, so let’s make it count.

Featured Photo by Kamil Pietrzak on Unsplash
Photo by Stephanie Cook on Unsplash
Taking a big leap isn't as daunting when 6 critical components are present. We’ve only got one life to live and time is precious, so let’s make it count.